Saw V 

I once learned about the Law of Diminishing Returns in an economics class. Sadly, despite not actually being a business model, the Saw franchise falls victim to the theory. If you're keeping track at home, that means they're getting worse as they go along, described succinctly as follows: part 1, good; part II, OK; parts III through V, interchangeable and nothing special.

Though the Jigsaw killer (Tobin Bell) is now dead, another murder occurs and Jigsaw survivor FBI agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) is convinced that heroic cop Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is somehow involved and perhaps in league with the deceased serial killer. The backstory follows. Meanwhile, a new group of law breakers is being put to the test by perhaps a final series of gory traps.

This movie is kind of like the prologue to the entire Saw story. One might ask, how can producers continue to release films in this saga when the mastermind is dead and gone? Well, this is more about answering questions related to how Saw IV ended. Unfortunately, that installment wasn't that great either, so releasing yet another sequel is like hearing a third grader recite a synopsis of a book you've just finished reading.

Because the plot continues to jump back in time, it's fun to see more of the killer's motives, but even his crooked viewpoint and some nifty new traps aren't enough to save this film. While watching it isn't as painful as the events portrayed therein, Saw V still offers little value.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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