Saw II (2005)

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Released 21-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Director And Cast
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Jigsaw's Game
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Head Trap
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Needle Pit
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Hand Trap
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Furnace
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Bits And Pieces
Storyboard Comparisons-4
Trailer-Lord Of War, The Fog, Waiting, Cake
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 89:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Darren Lynn Bousman
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Donnie Wahlberg
Shawnee Smith
Tobin Bell
Franky G
Glenn Plummer
Dina Meyer
Emmanuelle Vaugier
Beverley Mitchell
Erik Knudsen
Tim Burd
Lyriq Bent
Noam Jenkins
Tony Nappo
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Charlie Clouser


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When the film Saw was released in 2004 it created considerable and varied audience reaction. The film placed its characters in cruel and bizarre situations, but carefully avoided becoming overly gratuitous. If taken in the right context, Saw is a morbidly fun and compelling film that poses many moral questions to its audience. Whatever your opinion of the film, this low-budget film made by unknown filmmakers has certainly injected some renewed energy into a tired genre. Saw's rapid climb to cult status guaranteed the production of this sequel, Saw II, in 2005. (For more background information on the original Saw, click here to read the review.)

     James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who conceived the original film, have taken a back seat with the sequel and are both in executive producer roles, although Whannell also co-wrote the screenplay with  Saw II director Darren Lynn Bousman. Bousman was entrusted to expand on the macabre world of serial killer Jigsaw without digressing too far from the original concept and successful formula.

    As was the case with the first film, Saw II wastes no time building drama and tension. The audience is literally grabbed by the throat within the first two minutes of the film, when another unfortunate victim is forced to play one of Jigsaw's barbaric games. From this point, the tension and suspense is constant. The audience is also given many clues to key plot twists and unexpected revelations to come later in the film.

    Without going into too much detail, the basic synopsis of Saw II centres on Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) and his battle of wits with Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). As the net closes in on Jigsaw, a police SWAT team raids an abandoned factory. Inside they discover Jigsaw's lair, with the man himself sitting calmly behind a desk, making no attempt at escape. Jigsaw is terminally ill with cancer and has very little time left to live; but he still has one more important game to play.

    Before the police can formally place Jigsaw under arrest, he invites Matthews and his police colleague, Kerry (Dina Meyer), to inspect a bank of carefully positioned video monitors. These monitors show eight strangers locked in a room of a house at an unknown location. One of these occupants happens to be Matthews' son, Daniel (Erik Knudsen). None of the captives have any idea how they arrived at the house or why they are there, although they soon learn that there is a common link to their incarceration.

    A deadly nerve agent is being pumped into the house and will kill the occupants within two hours. The captives must solve a series of macabre puzzles in order to locate and secure syringes of an antidote, which will neutralize the effects of the deadly gas. These puzzles have dire consequences if not solved correctly. The choices made by Jigsaw's captives under the constraint of time will determine their fate; their life or death is literally in their own hands.

    With Detective Matthews now so personally involved, the balance has well and truly shifted in Jigsaw's favour. In order to locate the house and save his son, Detective Eric Matthews is forced to become another reluctant player in Jigsaw's malevolent game of survival.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Saw II is of outstanding quality.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I believe this to be the film's correct aspect ratio.

    The sharpness and clarity displayed in this transfer is quite superb and will please fans of the film. Blacks were also clean and deep, with no low-level noise. Anyone familiar with the Saw films will know that shadow detail is vital to a successful transfer of these films to DVD. With much of the action occurring in interior low-light locations, shadow detail needs to be extremely high. Thankfully, the transfer delivers brilliant shadows, ensuring you won't miss any of the gory details.

    Following on from the original film, Saw II uses similar themes in its colour palette. The distinctive use of green and yellow tones in the various rooms highlight the sense of decay and filth wonderfully well. As with Saw, colours are generally subtle and muted to give that appearance, with very little use of vibrant colour required. Colours are very well balanced on the disc with no apparent problems.

    There are no MPEG artefacts on this DVD and film-to-video artefacts were insignificant. I also did not notice any film artefacts in this transfer.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available on this DVD.

     This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at 62:26. It was easily noticed, but not particularly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Keeping to the standard set with the video transfer, the audio transfer is equally superb.

    There are three audio tracks available on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality was clear and concise throughout and no adverse issues with audio sync were noticed.

    The original music for the film was scored by Charlie Clouser. Charlie also wrote the score for the original film. His score here cleverly adds to the atmosphere of the film without ever becoming intrusive. As with Saw, the music of various heavy metal artists is also incorporated into the soundtrack. Songs from Marilyn Manson, Puseifier, The Used and Queens Of The Stone Age  are used. The Mudvayne song Forget To Remember plays over the closing credits.

     The surrounds provided a constant assault, with the sound design totally immersing the viewer in the action. Directional effects were precise and are used cleverly to maximize audience involvement in the film. Subtle ambient sounds were also utilized well over all the surround channels, underscoring the eerie atmosphere. I could have noted many examples, but the opening scene gives a good enough indication of the excellent sound design that will follow.

     The subwoofer is well and truly a contributor to this overall sound experience and rarely gets a break. The sound design and music is well enhanced by good deep bass highlights. Some decent examples are a gunshot at 22:40 and car crash at 43:38.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras is reasonably good.

Menu

    The menu is well designed with subtle animation and atmospheric sound bites from the film. It is also 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Audio Commentary - Darren Lynn Bousman (Director), Donnie Wahlberg and Beverley Mitchell (Actors)

    If you're hoping for a serious commentary on Saw II you might be a little disappointed with this piece. This is a very light-hearted discussion, with all three commentators enjoying the opportunity to be reacquainted. Although their banter is filled with humour, the content is still very interesting. Fans of Saw II should be reasonably satisfied with the amount of inside information revealed about the film.

The Traps Of Jigsaw

    These six relatively short featurettes examine the many traps in Saw II and how they eventuated. All offer remarkable insight into the concept and the special effects magic that make these gruesome traps so intriguing - albeit in a very morbid way. Brief interviews with cast and crew members, combined with behind-the-scenes footage make each topic fascinating viewing. All are presented in a letterboxed format with Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

  • Jigsaw's Game (2:56)
  • The Head Trap (4:23)
  • The Needle Pit (8:37)
  • The Hand Trap (2:51)
  • The Furnace (4:03)
  • Bits & Pieces (4:33

    Storyboards

        Four short scene comparisons of storyboards with final cut footage. The storyboard drawings play beside the finished film for an interesting comparison. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

  • Death Mask (3:40)
  • Jigsaw's Lair (1:46)
  • Needle In A Haystack (2:43)
  • The Furnace (3:23)

    Trailers

  • Lord Of War (1:43)
  • The Fog (2:07)
  • Waiting (2:07)
  • Cake (2:43)

    Censorship

        There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

    R4 vs R1

    NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

        The R1and R4 versions of Saw II are almost identical in terms of offerings. Both versions carry the same extras, with the only difference being the trailers that are featured. The R1 version has English and Spanish subtitles available. Unless the subtitles are an issue, I would stick with the local R4 version simply for reasons of convenience.

    Summary

        With so many sequels failing miserably, it's refreshing to get one that at least maintains the tension and genuine macabre fun of the original. If you enjoyed the nasty deeds of Jigsaw in Saw, then it's highly probable Saw II will provide you with more of the same morbid entertainment - bring on Saw III. 

        The video and audio transfers are of outstanding quality. 

        The selection of extras is worthy and relevant. These should keep fans content until the inevitable special edition or boxed set is released sometime in the future.

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Tuesday, March 21, 2006
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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