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Overall Rating
2.83

Awesome: 4.35%
Worth A Look: 15.22%
Just Average52.17%
Pretty Crappy: 15.22%
Sucks: 13.04%

5 reviews, 16 user ratings


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Mindhunters
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by Erik Childress

"We Finally Get To See It! Good News Some Other Time"
2 stars

Halfway through the screening of Renny Harlin’s Mindhunters, Dimension Films stepped in, shut down the projector and announced that they were delaying the film again. OK, so that’s not entirely true, but it wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone aware of the film’s history. Originally scheduled to debut in April of 2003, Mindhunters was another in the long line of Miramax-owned product that could never settle on a proper date to crash and burn at the box office. It would pop up on the release schedule, only to materialize as its own red herring of hope and give the director time to re-shoot an entirely new film from scratch. The good news is that Paul Schrader’s Exorcist prequel is finally going to hit theaters. The bad news is that Mindhunters is going to beat it by a week.

Color me uninformed in that early reports I read about the film suggested that these special FBI profilers worked in a new technique to run around within the brain of a serial killer. Fantastic Voyage and The Cell notwithstanding, turns out there’s nothing really special about any of them; possessing little more than the ability to read people like an episode of Law & Order: Special Texas Hold ‘Em Unit. They’ve learned everything (or, at least, how to thoroughly fail) by that wonderful hipster Val Kilmer, whose bizarre methods (including an obsession with cats and eating cake while teaching) are starting to come under scrutiny from the bureau.

For his latest exercise, he’s bringing his students on a field trip to a remote island, equipped with a full town and investigative utilities. It also has shooting dummies for target practice, but Kilmer is bringing eight of his own. Team leader J.D. (Christian Slater) and his scaredy-cat partner, Sara (Kathryn Morris). Brit Rafe (Will Kemp) and Brit-pretending-to-be-an-American, Lucas (Jonny Lee Miller). Wheelchair-bound and scowling gun lover, Vince (Clifton Collins, Jr.), Paul Rudd-wannabe Bobby (Eion Bailey) and accent-impaired, Nicole (Patricia Velasquez, nominee for this year’s Maria Conchita Alonso award) round out the potential victims. Apparently the commercials (advertising only seven profilers) forgot about Harlin’s toughest man to kill, LL Cool J, who is along for the ride as an observer.

Their on tap to profile a killer known as The Puppeteer and also to deduce why there are so many stray cats in town. Supposedly stranded and cut off from the outside world, things go awry the first morning when one of them is killed. Any doubt (brought on by the opening scene) that this may be just another simulation is waylayed immediately by having the first guy literally frozen into pieces by liquid nitrogen. Now comes the period of suspicion. Has their teacher gone nuts? Is there someone they don’t know on the island? Or (gasp) could one of them be the killer?

The Ten Little Indians approach to mysteries has long been a favorite of mine. If only Mindhunters hadn’t tried to overplay it with such graceless stupidity. Not a scene goes by without a new red herring being invented for each suspect and then red herrings on top of those. We can’t take anything seriously and any suspense to be mustered is buried under piles of misdirection. Not that we have to care about these characters. We certainly don’t. Its all an exercise for those who enjoy oversimplistic page-turners. But whatever inherent watchability that drives it is rooted in sticking around to witness just how ridiculous the motivation is for all this mayhem.

Here’s a handy tip to avoid being tricked. If the movie has pretty much announced who the killer is and then another person (whose last word will be “You?”) is killed by someone we can’t see – the other dude ain’t the killer. He’s only acting like the killer because the plot depends on them to act like the killer to maintain the illusion that the audience believes he is the killer. You’ll know this moment when it comes upon you and you should ask yourself the following questions: (1) Who shot who? (2) Why did shooter “A” shoot said victim? (3) If the answer to Question #2 is because he believed the other to be the killer, then why does he act the way he does to surviving team member “C”? If “A” shot “B” because B is killer, why does “A” act like killer and a big meanie to “C”? Forget any equation with this film, because it couldn’t possibly add up.

Mindhunters may serve up entertainment on a level of CBS’ recent made-for-TV monster movies (Spring Break Shark Attack, Locusts, Riding the Bus With My Sister). Val Kilmer doesn’t get quite the graceful exit that Sam Jackson received in Deep Blue Sea. LL Cool J gets to play the same dude he did in that film as the guy who must avoid the water and will never die. Probably most thankful for the film’s delay is Kathryn Morris, who was able to hide the film long enough for her to grab the lead on CBS’ Cold Case. Then again, the film could only have helped her cause to play the same kind of stiff she does here. I honestly don’t know why all the fuss with the delay. There are at least ten films this year that are far worse, and some have even grossed over $50 million. Mindhunters probably never had much of a chance to break half that three years ago, but by Miramax delaying it for so long, they will be lucky to grab half of that half. Now, if they only had half a decent script. Well, priceless.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12181&reviewer=198
originally posted: 05/13/05 00:08:09
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User Comments

4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT SUSPENSEFUL THRILLER WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 3 stars
5/04/08 Jack Sommersby No great shakes, but it's capable and involving. 3 stars
8/05/07 Jeff Anderson Pretty good as these films go & Harlin as usual stages some nifty scenes! LL's a standout!! 4 stars
12/15/06 Jim Utter claptrap, with the only high point being underwater Mexican standoff at the end. 2 stars
5/18/06 drydock54321 nice action scenes 3 stars
1/16/06 Croatoa_100 Good writting but, it tried too hard to be like Renny Harlin's earlier films...!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
12/21/05 Agent Sands Typical but entertaining. Kilmer needed more screen time to support the mediocre cast. 4 stars
11/17/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Great Twists 4 stars
11/15/05 Kaleigh Lattus I thought it was really good because it kept me guessing through the whole film 4 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) reasonable film 4 stars
7/03/05 ALDO good action...keeps you involved....worth watching 4 stars
7/03/05 Marcia Lartz 2 become soul survivors of a group that were -- uh, what the heck WERE they doing? 3 stars
6/15/05 adrian ace must see movie, lacking in the end but over all not a waste of time 4 stars
5/25/05 it A great film 5 stars
5/13/05 Mider Good stuff 5 stars
5/13/05 Burton Bathrick good 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 20-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Renny Harlin

Written by
  Wayne Kramer
  Kevin Brodbin

Cast
  Christian Slater
  LL Cool J
  Val Kilmer
  Eion Bailey
  Will Kemp
  Jonny Lee Miller



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