The tedious exercising of torture porn for sadomasochistic devotees has its annual pre-Halloween ritual, licensed to print money for the studio.
Saw VI stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandaylor, Peter Outerbridge, and Tanedra Howard, and it comes across slightly better than its two inept, desperate predecessors.
Mandaylor's deviously mushy Lt. Hoffman is the cop who's emerged as the unchallenged successor to the legacy of Jigsaw/John Kramer (Bell).
The grimy production from the latest director of the series allows the posthumorous mastermind to work his extreme morality on more hapless folk like insurance executive William (Outerbridge).
The grafting of a cross-cutting plot by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton still infused with flashbacks attempts to clear up loose ends involving Hoffman, Jigsaw's widow (Betsy Russell), and a dogged journalist (Samantha Lemole).
In its generically grisly devolved predatory way, Saw VI has a mordant topical angle, what with the sleazy William (whose character could have been in Michael Moore's Sicko or the the concurrent Capitalism: A Love Story) has blocked coverage for policyholders like including Jigsaw for the benefit of corporate earnings.
Maybe the craftiest of the murder-go-rounds on view has William frantically allowed to help a couple of his six most corrupt employees. The filmmakers do their Grand Guignol best to appease the originality of the set-pieces from the Rube Goldberg devices even imitated by a vengeful scientist in Law Abiding Citizen.
Labyrinthian and Cubist plot and production fabrication still comes off as mostly rote and bland, rather than diabolically clever, even as it borrows an awful offing moment from the original, most bearable Saw. Whether oxygen machines, concentrated acid or high-pressure steam, one is continued to be hooked into what is off-putting and ridiculous, rather than something that started with a little lurid ingenuity into the serial-killer picture.
Through its deployment of deadly devices, Saw VI may have enough in it for the senseless saga to continue even though the conclusion of the second sequel which saw the demise of John (Bell has been mostly sleepwalking through the part since for good reason) probably could have been its merciful end. But, this profitable series is unrelenting in recoiling through its twisted pleasures, like painful self-mutilation and forced dismemberment as VH-1 contest winner Howard can attest to.