The games are back, which, after the obvious sequel set up from the end of the first movie, should come as no surprise. 'SAW 2' continues to present the atmosphere, traps and plot in an identical way to that of the first, preserving continuity but carrying over some of the same niggles which were present in the first movie.
The plot, as was the style from the first movie, is again told from two different perspectives which run parallel throughout the movie and come together at the end with a little twist. The movie opens with another poor victim caught in another trap, this time a death mask, and after a satisfying level of violence, the police must deal with the aftermath. At the crime scene a message is left by Jigsaw calling out a particular detective, asking him to 'look closer'. With that tip the police track down Jigsaw's lair and then the true games begin. Jigsaw has captured and imprisoned a group of unfortunates in his own deadly fun house, amongst them, the detectives son. The detective's game is simple, he must listen to Jigsaw as he speaks, where as those imprisoned must survive their own individual traps to earn their reward - an antidote to the nerve gas they have been exposed to.
The switching back and forth between plot lines helps to maintain a pace which is fluid throughout the movie, but at the expense of action. This was also apparent in the first movie but in many ways it is more evident in this one. Again we must sit through more and more babble about Jigsaw's moral high-ground, however in this movie the counter statements towards him make far better argument, further making Jigsaw look more and more of a muppet; despite the writers attempts to make him look calculated, cool and justified. There is also a rather unnecessary flashback sequence in which we discover why Jigsaw is like he is, which, as with his statements make him look more cowardly and tantrum prone than was clearly the intention.
As I said, the pace of the movie is quick and so these scenes of dialogue, however lengthy, do not ever get boring, but in my opinion some poor scripting does further erode the ethical pretentiousness of the franchise.
The majority of the good stuff lies in the second, and more prominent plot line; that of those trapped in the house. As with all of the games there is a little bit of mystery surrounding each of the victims, with cryptic clues left to guide them. After the initial meet and greet it becomes apparent that each of the group are to progress through the house partaking in traps specifically themed to each of their life's failings. The traps in this movie are good and imaginative, and whilst not terribly gory, some of the trap sequences are truly cringe inducing and agonising to watch. The effects are good, and the camera does not pull away from the action, which, when coupled with the excellent score (which is consistent throughout the franchise), it makes for some pretty visceral viewing.
It is worth noting here that sadly, although the traps are effectively spread out throughout the movie, the quantity does not live up to the potential set out by the plot. There are 8 people trapped, however we only see around half that number of traps in action which is a little bit of a shame. This does leave you feeling sold short, and the plot gets a little frustrating as it looses direction, with the characters making some pretty stupid choices, at the expense of our sadistic viewing pleasure.
Overall, I'm sure that you can tell how I will summarise this movie. The plot is passable, and whilst I do gripe at how serious it takes itself, I suppose, taken at face value it does the job. If you are watching this movie with the view it follows the thriller-esk style of the first then you will be disappointed as thankfully this is a much more straightforward horror movie affair. The traps are what make this film worth watching and it does the job nicely as they are savage and brutal. The movie is not as strong as the first but keeps the torch alive for the rest of the, franchise and if you like the theme, is worth the watch.