When Chris Rock revealed that he came up with an idea to reboot the saw franchise, it seemed like it might be exactly what the long-running horror series needed after eight increasingly repetitive installments. But Spiral: from the book of Saw, starring and produced by Rock, offers more of the same in a slightly different package. It’s unclear how much of the movie came from Rock’s original idea. The story is not credited to him, and the main creative team consists of saw Series veterans: Director Darren Lynn Bousman (who directed the series’ second, third, and fourth installments) and screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger (who wrote the 2017 film Puzzle).

Spiral starts out like almost any other saw movie, with an anonymous victim who finds herself in an elaborate death trap. The serial killer Jigsaw, also known as John Kramer (Tobin Bell), died in 2006. Sierra III And yet he remained the mastermind behind the murders in later films, through previously implemented plans and a growing squad of disciples. But Bell appears only briefly in photographs in Spiral, and the voice that invites the victims to “play a game” is not his (it sounds vaguely feminine). SpiralThe first victim is tied with his tongue to the ceiling of a subway tunnel and ends up being splattered all over the tracks when he is run over by a train.

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chris rock spiral saw

Turns out the dead man was a local police detective and the best friend of surly detective Zeke Banks (Rock). Zeke and his fellow detectives are quick to rule out the possibility of one of Jigsaw’s accomplices committing the crime, even though he follows the basic pattern. The voice blames the victim for some moral transgression (in this case, lying on the witness stand in multiple trials), offers them an absurdly painful way to “escape” the death trap, and then kills them anyway. On Spiral, the killer’s victims are corrupt policemen, and the filmmakers make some confusing, largely unsuccessful comments about the failures of modern policing.

That first dead cop may have been Zeke’s friend, but he’s otherwise not well-liked on the force, as he once also shot down a corrupt officer (albeit in a much less creepy way). Since turning over his ex-partner for shooting an unarmed innocent civilian, Zeke has been ostracized by his fellow officers, despite the fact that his father, Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson), is a legendary former chief of police. But Zeke remains the lead detective in this Jigsaw-like case, along with his new partner William Schenk (Max Minghella).

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Zeke introduces himself as Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Police, pranking while working undercover with a gang of robbers, only to be later arrested by his own colleagues. It’s a total cliché of a cop movie, getting scolded by Captain Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols) for being a fool, not playing by the rules, etc. Of course, he prefers to work alone and is not happy having to carry it around. a newbie partner. Zeke’s chatter about relationships in his early scenes with William might come from a Chris Rock special, but the humor quickly wears off as the bodies pile up.

There are quite a few of the saw the hideously intricate traps of the show’s trademark, as the killer takes out more cops deemed unworthy of the badge, but Spiral It is the least explicitly violent entry in the series since James Wan’s 2004 original. It’s more of a throwback to the police procedures of the ’80s and’ 90s, as cops who don’t match are always one step behind a serial killer. Spiral owes so much to David Fincher’s Seven as it does with any of the others saw films.

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However, it pales in comparison to Fincher’s darkly brilliant thriller, and falls somewhere in the middle of the saw series as a whole. Rock proved he could give a convincingly dark and serious performance in the most recent season of Fargo, but it’s terrible at SpiralEither making out-of-place jokes at first or using the same squint gaze over and over again to indicate Zeke’s distress as the movie progresses. The rest of the cast aren’t doing much better, although Jackson at least seems to be enjoying himself.

Like in PuzzleStolberg and Goldfinger’s dialogue is egregious, full of awkward exposition and awkward pronouncements. The late saw The sequels relied on abundant flashbacks from previous films to rewrite the continuity, and Bousman must lose them because instead, he throws frequent cheesy flashbacks to things that happened only a few scenes before. SpiralThe visual style, which includes fast-moving glimpses of death traps and reliance on sickly green lighting, is largely indistinguishable from other saw films. The plot is simpler but also less sophisticated than in previous installments in the franchise, and it’s blatantly obvious who will eventually be revealed as the killer.

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Jigsaw has always been a morally righteous killer, even facing the injustices of the American healthcare system in the 2009s. Sierra VI, so it is possible that this new iteration has a message about the police state. But SpiralThe awakening is weak at best, just padding to keep the audience awake between murders. At one point, the characters dismiss the idea that the killer could be Jigsaw because John Kramer never attacked cops, even though he specifically chose cops as victims in multiple saw films. It just makes it seem like the filmmakers haven’t been paying attention to their own franchise. “Prepare to be disappointed,” Zeke tells William when they first pair up. That warning applies to anyone who is watching Spiral, also.

Starring Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols and Samuel L. Jackson, Spiral: From the Book of Saw opens Friday, May 14 in theaters nationwide.

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