Mindhunters

"Weak"

Mindhunters Review


In Mindhunters, a serial killer uses broken watches to reveal the time he's going to murder his next victim. Ironically, the film itself is like a watch -- a classy watch, in fact -- but a watch, nonetheless; similar in that both are reliable devices that do exactly what you expect of them and do so on autopilot, extracting little effort from the observer, until, of course, a battery change becomes necessary. Unfortunately, Mindhunters needs more than a simple battery replacement.

How's this for a final exam? Jake Harris (Val Kilmer), a controversial FBI instructor, immerses his students in elaborate, realistic training situations, and he pushes them to their limits for their final test. He flies his students (Christian Slater, Patricia Velasquez, Jonny Lee Miller, Clifton Collins Jr., Kathryn Morris, Eion Bailey, and Will Kemp) to a remote island used for war games practice, which has been deserted for the weekend.

To pass their exam, the students must figure out the identity of a killer called The Puppeteer before Harris returns to the island a few days later. He quickly leaves the island, but allows a profiler (LL Cool J) with the Philadelphia Police to observe the students and his own instructional methods. The exam quickly gets a little too lifelike, however, when students start dying -- for real. And it isn't long before they realize that the killer is one of them.

Mindhunters offers an engaging, violent premise. At a time when PG-13 rated "thrillers" have overtaken the multiplexes, this film deserves credit for granting thrill seekers an R-rated, adult experience, complete with a high body count and several grisly death sequences (one particular scene will make you think twice before smoking again), something that has become a rarity in recent thrillers. Surprisingly, the film doesn't hesitate to pick off the biggest names in the cast right off the bat. It's easy to find guilty pleasure in Mindhunters.

Apparently, director Renny Harlin -- known for action flicks like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger -- edited the film over and over to perfect the pacing. His persistence didn't pay off, however, as the only effective moments are the death sequences, and they are isolated islands in a vast ocean of amateur dialogue, lackluster writing, and sub par performances. Mindhunters lacks suspense and tension. Harlin doesn't capture the terror and anxiety of his characters, even with the watch gimmick that pits them in a race against time.

Instead of elaborate plot devices like the watches, Harlin should have given the actors more to work with. The characters are almost completely void of interest as they wander from one implausible situation to another; they are merely puppets of the already mechanical plot (some of them become puppets, literally). Additionally, with all the creative booby traps the killer devises, I found myself rooting for the villain more often than not.

The script itself poses more questions than answers. When did the killer travel to this remote island to devise all of these elaborate traps? It's probably not an easy location to reach, especially since the U.S. government owns it and access is limited. When and how did he/she manage to booby trap the pipes, lights, cigarette machines, clocks, beverages, guns, and set up that never-ending line of dominos when security would be tight?

Actually, the more I think about the logic of Mindhunters, the less I like it. So I'll stop now before I knock off another star from my rating. It could get ugly.

The DVD includes a commentary track, making-of featurettes, and an interesting short documentary about the location where it was shot -- not an island off the coast of North Carolina, but rather a manufactured city in Poland.

Aka Mind Hunters.

It was much better than Cats. We're going to see it again and again.



Mindhunters

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th May 2005

Box Office USA: $4.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $21.1M

Budget: $27M

Distributed by: Miramax

Production compaines: Dimension Films, Intermedia Films, Avenue Pictures Productions, Weed Road Pictures, Egmond Film & Television, Tonna Oy, Outlaw Victoria Productions Inc., Mindhunters (UK) Limited, Mindhunters Productie BV

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 86

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Gabe Jensen, as Lucas Harper, as Sara Moore, as Nicole Willis, Clifton Collins, Jr. as Vince Sherman, as Bobby Whitman, as Rafe Perry, as Jake Harris, as J.D. Reston, Cassandra Bell as Jen, Daniël Boissevain as Second Man in the Bar, as Man in the Bar, Jasmine Sendar as Friend of Jen, Trevor White as Attacker


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

No Escape Movie Review

No Escape Movie Review

One of the strongest action thrillers in recent years, this gripping movie cleverly casts actors...

Ricki and the Flash Movie Review

Ricki and the Flash Movie Review

Meryl Streep is having so much fun playing an ageing rocker that the audience only...

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without...

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Advertisement
Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Advertisement