Mindhunters (2004) – Review

MindhuntersFirst off this film does not star Val Kilmer and Christian Slater – despite what the ads may imply – they possibly worked a couple of days, cashed their cheques, and then took off as fast as they could to the nearest strip club or casino.This is truly another Renny Harlin masterpiece, and moves him closer into the realm of Uwe Boll, as there isn’t an ounce of originality in a single frame of this film. The rest of the cast consists of relative unknowns with the exception of LL Cool J and Jonny Lee Miller. The story revolves around a young group of FBI agents who desire to be profilers (that’s people who try to get inside the heads of serial killers and the like), and Val Kilmer plays Jake Harris an eccentric teacher at the academy who takes the group to an isolated island for their final training exercise. The film wastes no time in turning into just another run of the mill slasher flick, (that is if Jason or Freddy were into Rube Goldberg type death traps) where we are dished out the old Agatha Christie routine of “and then they’re were none” as each character is knocked off one by one, and everyone suspects everyone else. If you’ve seen My Bloody Valentine, April Fools Day, or any of the psycho killer flicks from the seventies or eighties then you won’t find anything new here. Characters constantly walk off alone when off course the most sensible thing to do when you don’t know who the killer is to just all stay in one room together until help arrives in the morning. No, instead we are treated with great dialogue such as, “You stay here and watch him while we check this out.” The moments that follows that kind line never bodes well for the characters. There is one scene in particular that just had me rolling my eyes in disbelief; while examining a staged crime Christian Slater activates one of the Rube Goldbergian traps that is in the form of a series of falling dominoes. The fact that the entire group just stands dumbstruck as they watch the dominoes click-clack their way across the room is truly astounding as not one of them has the brains to think, “Hey if a psycho killer set this up maybe it would be a good idea to…oh I don’t know…stop them?”

Now in all fairness there were some pretty suspenseful scenes, and the acting overall was more than adequate, but the fact that I had guessed who the killer was at about the fifteen minute mark it made enjoying the rest of the film that much more difficult. Even if you don’t figured out from the first subtle clue – which I bet most of you will – Mister Harlin provides  a few more that are served up like beach balls. So all the finger pointing an accusations made by each of the characters just comes off as annoying, when it’s so obvious who the killer is.

That this film was originally planned to be released in 2003, then postponed, and then lost for a time isn’t surprising. Why it didn’t just go straight video is what I can’t quite understand.


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