There are spoilers in this review. Skip to the overall section if you do not want to be spoiled.
1.) The confrontation between Hoffman and Jigsaw is what I expect with these movies: a battle of wills. Jigsaw believes he saving these people through his “games” will truly help them while Hoffman does not see it that way. In fact, their first meeting is probably my favorite scene in the movie (if not the entire series). Even though I can pick apart some areas that is wrong with it (Why can’t Hoffman just kill Jigsaw right there? I am pretty sure he is bluffing with his threat.), I do like the character interactions between the two.
2.) I do like the investigation into Hoffman’s origins. I am going to be clear: this is separate from his meeting with Jigsaw, because it actually fixes some of the plot holes from the previous movies especially Saw IV (despite how implausible they may be). His descent from being a good cop into Jigsaw’s apprentice is probably one of the few things that is interesting in the Saw series.
3.) There are five people who are now participating in Jigsaw’s new game (Get it? Five people. Saw V.), and the second half of the game has a somewhat interesting twist. Throughout the game, each person goes down one-by-one through each trap thanks to the individual members. It is not until the last trap that the remaining two realize it would have been better if all the members are alive, because the last trap consists of cutting their arms in order to have their blood fill in a bottle in order to finally get out. If all the members were alive, they would suffer little loss, but since only two are alive, they have to suffer so much to get out. That is pretty clever; the group must work together, but they unfortunately do not, and the remaining two have to suffer greatly for it…
1.) …That being said, the first half of the game is not great, because these characters are not really people. I understand that they are bad people, but they still do not talk like everyday people. They keep referencing things like “This is game,” or “Follow the rules,” or “Understand,” so the dialogue is not exactly refined here. It took time for me to get comfortable with these people, but it does not really help that movie spends more time with Hoffman and Peter Strahm’s investigation…
2.) …Speaking of Strahm’s investigation, the only way that the audience gets to see Hoffman’s origin is through Strahm’s investigating many areas of Jigsaw’s and Hoffman’s work. Apparently, Strahm manages to know exactly what happened in those flashback moments. I understand that in small areas, but in big ones like how Hoffman and Jigsaw met, Strahm does not strike me as that smart of an investigator (especially how he goes out by the end of the movie). Once again, the series is really pushing the suspension of disbelief here…
3.) …And once again, we have some idiotic characters at work here. I am just as tired of typing this out as you are reading the obvious, but I might as well state it here…again. Here are some examples: Head Agent Erickson tells Agent Strahm not to go alone despite by the end of the movie, Erickson goes alone. Strahm goes alone in a mission, and he ends up getting killed. One of the people in the game decides to turn against everyone, because he says it is the survival of the fittest despite a completely change of personality. There are some more, but I am not going to bother; you get the point.
On October 24, 2008, Saw V was released into theaters despite the last movie’s slightly poor performance in the box office. This movie was supposed to fill in some gaps and answer some questions that the fans clearly wanted answered from the last movie. To their credit, they did manage to answer some of those questions while giving a somewhat interesting narrative (it is still a mess in a few areas). They have learned their lessons from the last movie, but not the series in general like compelling characters (not just the antagonists) or better writing. I hope they continue that in the last two movies (or rather, three), because I admit that my patience is slightly wearing off, but has gotten better with this installment. This game is not over, but there is more to come…unfortunately.