Spiral: From the Book of Saw

The Saw franchise has never been one that I have been interested in. I have heard that the first installment was good, but I have never watched it. However, with the new film coming out now, featuring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, I found myself, at the very least, a little intrigued.

Entitled Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the new movie had moments that it was interesting, but it was pretty predictable, the dialogue was not very engaging and the story was something that has been seen before.

Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is not popular among the other police officers ever since he turned in a dirty cop years ago. Still Banks, son of former Police Chief Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson), pushes on with the corrupt cops in his department.

When one of Banks’ friends on the force is murdered in a gruesome trap involving a subway train, the precinct prepared for the possibility of another Jigsaw copycat killer on the loose.

Trying to reign Banks in, Captain Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols) assigned a rookie detective William Schnek (Max Minghella) to partner with him. The pair investigated the mystery of who this copycat killer was as more police officers faced the rogue justice of Jigsaw.

I had the killer’s identity figured out early. The film kept trying to set up other possible characters as suspects, but they were all so obviously red herrings that it only left the one possibility. Even when it looked as if I was going to be wrong, I had a pretty safe feeling that I was not wrong.

Chris Rock is good here, but he is not good enough to carry this script to a positive result. Samuel L. Jackson is grossly underused. Do not go into this movie thinking that you are getting a team up between Chris Rock and Jackson, because you have very scant few scenes with them.

The kill scenes had a few interesting set ups, but they wound up feeling pretty repetitive by the end of the film, and they are short and lacking any real motivation for the audience to hope the victim survives (with one notable exception).

Approaching the Saw franchise more as a crime thriller than a gore porn/slasher film has a lot of potential, but it just feels like the writing did not live up to the idea and the execution was lacking. Chris Rock does what he can, but there is just not enough here to make an entertaining movie.

2.2 stars

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