October 23rd, 2009

SAW 6 (2009) **

<Special Note:  I got a bonus Horror Franchise Movie for ya’ll.  Enjoy…>


Here we are again.  It’s the weekend before Halloween and that means one thing:  Lionsgate must foist upon the world another Saw movie.  Frankly, the studio needs another Saw sequel more than the audience does by this point.  I have to say I admire their tenacity in rapidly releasing these films given the time constraints.


The plot of Saw 6 doesn’t really need to be discussed because they ran out of plot three sequels ago.  I will at least tell you one tweak in the formula that I quite enjoyed.  In Saw 6, all of Jigsaw’s victims are either mortgage lenders or insurance agents; i.e. people that you desperately want to see get eviscerated.  This time, you’re actually rooting for Old Jiggy to kill some folks instead of getting caught up in the usual will-they-or-won’t-they-escape suspense. 


Actually, the plot is pretty much the highpoint of the movie.  For one, things amazingly enough make sense this time out.  The flashbacks don’t seem as shoehorned in as they have been in previous entries and they flow rather nicely in between the murders.


It’s here where Saw 6 gets a little wobbly.  Most of Jigsaw’s traps are pretty weak and would seem more at home in a carnival than in a Saw movie.  Like the trap where the “hero” has to shotgun people revolving around on a carousel.  I half expected him to receive a stuffed Jigsaw doll after he completed that one.  Then there’s a particularly lame game where a chick trapped in a maze has to avoid scalding hot steam that intermittently shoots out from the walls.  I think this whole wait-until-the-steam-stops suspense was used in just about every Nintendo game ever invented so it seems weird to see it actually play out for real.


There are two particularly gruesome moments that are worth mentioning however.  The first is the opening scene where Jigsaw asks for a pound of flesh from two potential victims.  The first one that gets to a pound gets to live.  One guy is a real tubster and begins filleting his stomach.  The other broad is smart and just hacks off her arm and wins.  (See, doesn’t that sound like some demented carnival game?)  The other great scene is the finale where a guy gets acid injected into his waistline and his legs fall out from beneath him; spilling his guts every which way. 


If only the filmmakers had gotten as inventive with the gore as they did with the plot, we might have actually had a good Saw sequel on our hands.  There is at least one surprise cameo that makes up for a lot of the film’s shortcomings, proving that if Jigsaw can still appear in the series from beyond the grave, anyone can.  Oh and if you’re keeping score:  Saw 1 > 3 > 2 > 6 > 5 > 4.   


Usually adding rappers to your horror sequel is a sure sign of creative bankruptcy.  If you don’t believe me, check out Busta Rhymes in Halloween:  Resurrection.  For the Leprechaun series, it actually makes a lot of sense.  I mean all the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) knows is rhyming and killing.  The same could be said for most rappers.


The opening scene takes place in the 70’s.  Ice-T (with the obligatory afro) finds Leprechaun’s pot of gold and uses the amulet to turn the irate Irishman into stone.  (“You midget Midas motherfucker!”)  When Ice-T blows on Leprechaun’s golden lute, he becomes a big time rapper.  Cut to 2000 where a trio of up and coming rappers rob Ice-T’s office and accidentally set the Leprechaun free.  They get their hands on the lute and their career begins to take off, but Leprechaun is hot on their trail.  And he wants his gold!


Leprechaun in the Hood is the first film in the series that actually follows some sort of continuity.  Like Part 3, Leprechaun is encased in stone by the magical amulet in the beginning of the film.  There’s also a hilarious scene where he gets momentarily weakened by smoking a joint laced with four leaf clovers.  (Four leaf clovers as we all know, was the cause of his death in Part 1.)  Leprechaun also gets some funny rhymes this time out.  (“A lot of time has come and pass, but you’re still a big fat ass!”)


Speaking of rhyming, the scenes of the heroes rapping on stage are kinda lame (especially their “religious” rap in a church) and bog the film down.  I will give the filmmakers credit for taking their characters seriously though.  When one of them gets killed unexpectedly, the other two deal with it in an appropriate and believable manner.  I mean how many horror sequels do you know of where the characters actually take time out to mourn the loss of their friends? 


I’m not saying this flick is Sophie’s Choice or anything.  There is plenty of blatant ridiculousness here to please any self-respecting connoisseur of the Leprechaun franchise.  How about the subplot where Leprechaun possesses some skanky chicks and turns them into “Zombie Fly Girls”?  Is that weird enough for ya, folks?  The kills are of a fairly high quality and include death by electrified mike stand, heart ripping, and of course, popping caps in people’s asses.  The funniest death though is the throat slashing via afro pick.  And for some reason, a lot of the plot revolves around guys dressing in drag.


The highlight of course is when Leprechaun raps at the end.  (“Lep in the hood, come to do no good!”)  You may think that Leprechaun’s rap name “Lep” sounds stupid, but when you consider that other rapper names like Nas and Pras sound just as dumb, it’s kinda believable.  I also like the rap names for the main characters Post Master P (“I deliver a positive message!”), Stray Bullet, and Onassis (“He used to be a pimp; you know… he OWNED asses!”).


Warwick Davis gives another stellar performance as Leprechaun.  He seems to be having more fun here than he did in the last film, that’s for sure.  Ice-T is also pretty good and gives his best performance in a movie not named Ricochet.  If T’s presence wasn’t enough to give the movie “street cred”; Coolio also turns up in a cameo playing himself.


The pacing is erratic, the cinematography is cruddy, and most of the songs (with the exception of Leprechaun’s rap that is) are terrible.  That shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the flick though.  Leprechaun returned three years later with Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood.


Leprechaun (naturally) gets the best line of the movie when he smokes a fatty and says, “A friend with weed, is a friend indeed!”


<Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie:  Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood>