Yes - it has taken me ages to get around to musing on this flick - but never mind, because here comes some muse-juice.
Saw V, basically it's an entire film made simply to explain what the fuck happened in Saw IV, and why the fuck that Hoffman dude - who looked pretty much identical to that Strahm guy - decided to come over all Jigsaw's New Apprentice. As Amanda got the Alan Sugar treatment for not paying attention to "the rules", and simply made torture devices to do nothing but kill, she was out of the game.
There's a similar strand connected to this Hoffman dude, but it's all pretty up in the air to be honest. Why bother investing the time and effort into believing what's happened when it'll just be re-explained in the next movie or two?
I thought the original Saw was a genuinely interesting and fresh slice of low budget indie horror ... then Saw II happened (resulting from a non-Saw script that was so similar to the franchise in question here, they just said "oh fuck it, just make that the next Saw movie instead") which was decidedly "meh" ... then Saw III came along, and I thought tidied it all up quite nicely. I would have ideally left it there - Jigsaw dies, Amanda dies, that nurse dies, the dude dies and the kid is left in that room - a suitably bleak, but final ending to the franchise.
Then they simply had to blunder in with the abominable Saw IV, in which they thought "oh bugger, we've practically killed off every single character except for one or two 'background artists' who had a couple of lines - let's make them the new focus of the movie!" ... so we ended up with that SWAT guy, who suddenly decides to overstep his official duties and come over all Inspector Gadget - minus the gadgets, humour, dog, niece, but with all the dopey barging forward.
I bet he wishes he had a ruff-talking dog and a super-smart crime-fighting niece watching his back though, because like many of the characters in the Saw franchise, they don't pay a blind bit of notice to "the rules" - a factor especially galling in Saw IV and now Saw V. You'd have thought that, mostly being detectives, they'd detect the key to surviving a Jigsaw "test" - do what he says, listen carefully to the message (although admittedly, you don't have to listen that carefully to get the underlying message).
At this stage it's become a franchise centred around torturing bastards and testing career-obsessed people in possession of one-tracked-minds.
Saw V is no different - you've got the ludicrous amount of time-line-bothering back-and-forth, a protagonist that doesn't pay attention to "the rules", a bunch of daft twists, more evidence of how Jigsaw seemingly possessed the ability to foresee the future as clear as crystal (explained limply by saying 'if you can predict human behaviour, then you'll do alright in this game sunshine') and of course - lashings of gore.
Now, as a gore-hound, the effects are eye-saucering ... although the sheer volume of nastiness, rather than Savini-style spectacle and magic, becomes swiftly hard-to-swallow, especially when you realise that there's yet more Saw films to come ... a sixth for sure.
Like I suggested earlier, it should have ended at Saw III, nuff said ... but oh no, they've gotta keep blundering on, making the franchise stray into intensely preposterous territory and further and further away from it's indie roots of intrigue and shock.
Saw V didn't shock me. I did grimace a couple of times - but then again, if you don't grimace at some poor bastard's forearm bursting through his flesh with squishy sound effects, then you simply aren't human and nobody in their right mind would want to meet you down a dark alley.
Was Saw V any better than Saw IV? Probably, because it explained (mostly) what the fuck Saw IV was supposed to all be about ... and I did gain glimmers of interest by saying to myself "hey, it's Morris from 24" or "hey, Julie Benz has had a boob job, hasn't she?".
The franchise really has become an industry unto itself (with spiralling production costs, and diminishing returns) ... a cookie cutter industry. Take the "Hello Zepp" theme tune, whack it on the audio track, give the cameraman some speed and some assorted hallucinatory drugs so he can flap around all over the latest trap like an ADD-addled hamster, have the writers take another kind of drug that lends itself to developing vast plot twists that could rival the daftest conspiracies bandied about by morons on "teh intarwebz" for head-scratched "eh?"-ness ... ... *gasp* ... ... then get an editor who also acts like a drug-addled rodent, and some CGI whizz-kid to splash a bit of digital-gore about to help turn the whole film into a frenetic lump of chaos in post production.
And new to the method with Saw V, add a bunch of distracting oval patches of post-production work where you've had to lighten the image up because you've suddenly realised the image is too dark, when really, you should have just left it alone.
So in summary (about time too), Saw V ... well I guess it's better than Saw IV, but that movie was utter shite, so it's not saying much really is it? Well, see you in a few months for some chit-chat about Saw VI, I guess...*sigh*