Spiral: From The Book of Saw (R21)
Starring Chris Rock, Samuel L Jackson, Max Minghella
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
John Kramer aka Jigsaw is dead (six sequels ago in Saw III) but his unique brand of vigilante justice is still being dished out, but by whom? Enter Chris Rock’s outcast Detective Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Banks to track down the killer(s) when his corrupt colleagues are picked off one by one in assorted gruesome death-traps. Samuel L Jackson — Pulp Fiction references ahead! — co-stars as Zeke’s retired police chief father and potential suspect/victim. The good thing about this reboot is that it’s freed of the migraine-causing plotting and confusing timelines of the earlier chapters, which makes it easy for newcomers to follow. A little too easy perhaps. As a straight-up whodunit, it’s thinly conceived; perceptive viewers will probably figure out who the perp is midway. As a takedown on police brutality, it could dig (slice?) deeper. Then again, you come to a Saw movie for the outrageously elaborate, mechanised deaths, right? But guess what? They don't shock me as much as I thought they would; honestly, I rarely squirm or try to cover my eyes. Maybe I have grown numb to the gore. Maybe the violence doesn't meet my exacting standards. Maybe I am more concerned with the rising COVID-19 cases (hello, Phase 2: Heightened Alert!). Strangely, I am not disappointed, though. Maybe I am in the mood to watch bad people getting their comeuppance — in this case, bent cops incapable of remorse shredded into fish bait. Booyah! Spiral, a feel-good movie? Who would have thought of that? (2.5/5 stars)
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