*No twists will be spoiled, however as always…
Working in the shadow of his father, Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks and his rookie partner take charge of an investigation into grisly murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
“Someone’s out there pulling all the strings”
I know what you are thinking Juicers, ANOTHER FREAKING SAW MOVIE? Yes, I know this franchise is incredibly tired, and it feels like they have run out of ways to torture people. However, when I saw that Chris Rock and Sam Jackson were trying to reinvent it a little bit, I was intrigued to say the least. What we got is this Law and Order, Saw hybrid that in my opinion was a really cool way to change up the formula, yet still give us all the major Saw story beats: gruesome cold open, traps that make you pull your shirt over your face, and a twist that will leave you wanting more. Just know, this movie may be a reinvention but it is still not for the faint of heart, this is a Saw movie and it is absolutely gruesome.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III, and IV) the main idea like I said that sets this story apart from the rest of the franchise, is the emphasis on the investigation. Sure, the other movies have detectives in them, but this story revolves around the detectives and not the “game.” The traps are more sprinkled in with he buddy cop, investigative elements of the story. Chris Rock plays our lead Cpt. Zeke Banks, son of former chief Marcus Banks (Sam Jackson) who is tortured by the department for turning in a dirty cop years ago. Due to this rift in the department, when the new Jigsaw copycat starts calling out Zeke, no one is willing to help except his new rookie partner Det. William Schenk (Max Minghella). From there we are thrown fully into the game and the investigation. We see the copycat picking off different policeman left and right and Zeke having trouble figuring it all out. All of it leading to, of course, the signature Saw twist that you may or may not see coming.
What makes this movie good is that they tried to make this a different type of movie than the previous 8 Saw stories. However, of course there are still flaws here that are hard to overlook. The style of the movie was off putting to say the least. It was fully digital while the original movies have this very gritty film look to it. That original look is one of the endearing memories of that original series and like I said above it looked a little bit like a Law and Order episode. I also thought even though it was executed well, the twist was fairly predictable for me which caused the ending to be a bit anti-climactic.
Stock Up – Chris Rock
I do not necessarily think his performance was fantastic, but with this and his lead in the recent season of Fargo, he is back and making very interesting role choices. Sure he is still a comedian at heart, but he has a lot of talent and I really look forward to seeing what this second half of his career will be.
Stock Neutral – Samuel L. Jackson
You kidding me?
*A couple other tidbits
- Max Minghella was fine I thought in his role, but felt like it was missing something in the character.
- The Forrest Gump conversation was hilarious, Jenny really is the worst.
- Loved the New Jack City reference from Chris Rock.
- Another movie with a Cold Open, seems to be a trend these days for sure.
I gotta be honest, I was pleasantly surprised here, considering where this franchise has been recently. I like the detective style story, and it kept me going through the gory, and yes I mean gory, traps throughout. Dare I even say I would watch another movie like this if it was made well. However, though again this is not for the weak stomachs so proceed with caution.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
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