Take the basic premise of Saw and hand it over to a Japanese horror filmmaker and you get a film that makes a lot more sense, is more fun, and is surprisingly free of torture porn! And even the sequel stands on its own instead of dragging you deeper into a headache-inducing dungeon of nonsensical branching twists.
DEATH TUBE (2010)
A young man finds he can’t stop watching a web show called “Death Tube.” Before he knows it, he wakes up in a room with a computer…and a little cartoon bear telling him what he needs to do to win the game and stay alive. And so do the seven other people he can video chat with from their rooms.
And when I saw that the challenge was to complete a Rubik’s Cube in ten minutes, my thought was, “Just switch the stickers! Or pop the puzzle apart and put it back together correctly!” However, these people are fricking Japanese so they have a huge advantage over the American dipshits in Saw. They solve the puzzle, no sweat.
But the game doesn’t end there. Death Tube eventually has the contestants compete in various challenges; in each case, loser dies. And to make sure that happens, there are baddies in big yellow bear costumes keeping the contestants in check.
Eat the doughnut or die! I’d so win Death Tube.
The contestants decide they need to work together in order to survive, but Death Tube soon becomes more like Big Brother—lying and cheating just might be the key to being the last person standing.
It’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t depend on extreme and graphic deaths to be thrilling. Even so, Death Tube does begin to drag, running nearly two hours. But the loads of twists at the end are more than enough pay off.
DEATH TUBE 2 (2010)
After an odd opening scene featuring a nicely built guy wearing undies and one of the bear costume heads (would have been hot if he weren’t throwing knives at a chick’s head), Death Tube 2 seems like it’s going to be a rehash of the first film but with a lady lead instead of a guy lead. Then this sequel fast forwards; the usual puzzles from the first movie get a brief, humorous montage. This set of contestants knows how to play the game. No one dies!
That makes the cartoon bear very angry….
Death Tube 2 brings a whole new layer to the plot. The stakes are higher and the contestants are faced with moral dilemmas such as—kill or be killed. Yet the movie is also a lot more on the light and humorous side. A trio of bears even does the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance. Plus, there’s marital arts fighting and the contestants find themselves in a situation that’s like something out of the Cube franchise.
Kill the little brat or die! I’d so win Death Tube.
Unlike the first film, the sequel gives a reason for why the group of contestants ended up on Death Tube. So in that sense, the sequel feels a lot more like a Saw copycat than the first film.