The Good

The Bad

While the multiple plot twists (and the very rationalization for those twists) gets a tad tiresome after awhile, overall I don’t think that Mindhunters was nearly as bad as it looked in the previews. With more red herrings than you could possibly fit into a jar, I am reluctant to speak too much about this movie’s plot, simply because anything I may or may not say could inadvertently be a spoiler. I will thus proceed with caution so as not to make any such mistakes.

A group of young FBI profilers is being trained on a remote island. Suddenly, people start dying and this film becomes a whodunit. As each successive person is knocked off, we realize how right or wrong we may or may not be depending on who we initially thought the killer was. Now, here is where I have to use vague language. The killer, as given to us in options by the preview, actually wasn’t who I thought it was going to be. So I do have to give Mindhunters credit in that department. However, after watching the first 20 minutes of the movie, I pretty much knew who the killer was. This isn’t to say that I didn’t keep switching the choice in my mind, but in the end, I was proven correct.

As I said, the red herring bit gets a tad numbing but overall I thought Mindhunters was a pretty decent film.

Features

Director’s Commentary

I love Renny Harlin’s commentary tracks. He has a very unique way of staying meticulously with the movie, but also affording the listener/viewer with a lot of details. Okay, he’s no Robert Rodriguez but I can appreciate how he wants to explain things that we might take for granted. For instance, talking about the opening credits. Or explaining to us the logistics and aesthetic reasons for certain decisions that were made regarding Crimetown. And add to this it’s all coherent even with his thick accent!

Profiling Mindhunters, Stunt Sequence and A Director’s Walk Through Crimetown

“Profiling Mindhunters” is a your garden variety “making of” featurette. We hear about the work the actors did to prepare for the their roles, and Mr. Harlin basically explains why he made this movie. The “Stunt Sequence” is an inside look at a fight scene between Jonny Lee Miller and LL Cool J. I really liked this because the scene was broken down, almost punch for punch it seemed, and then I got to view the actual sequence as it appears in the film. Nothing too special but interesting nonetheless. “A Director’s Walk Through Crimetown” is simply Renny Harlin taking us through to the place in the movie where the FBI are training on the remote island. Who knew he had such a fertile sense of humor?

Video

Widescreen. 2.35:1 - Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. While this movie did have a “whitewashed” look, it worked for the story that was being told. One thing that Renny Harlin does do (and Tony Scott does this quite well also), is he creates a look for the movie but he doesn’t hang the movie on that. Basically, this film still flows really well despite the fact that it is highly stylized. I love that he never lets the camera linger too long, and while there were a decent amount of thrills and chills, the way the movie was put across didn’t wear me out at all. This is another film that makes me wish I had a bigger TV, simply because I know that I must be wishing something only being able to screen DVDs on a 13” inch screen.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. French Language Track and Spanish subtitles. Nothing too incredible here, but I loved that even though this was a thriller, we weren’t beaten over the head with “clues” every 5 seconds. This film has a pretty generic soundtrack (although I am sure that the people who put it together probably don’t feel that way about it. This isn’t a dialogue film but I found that I was able to hear everything the actors said and I didn’t have to turn up my TV too loud. I also liked that this movie wasn’t one of those moody, profiler pieces that focuses on one character’s “inner demons.” The straightforward narrative helped this movie move along rather well.

Package

LL Cool J, Christian Slater, Val Kilmer and Kathryn Morris are on the cover, with a nondescript shadow holding a gun behind them. Like many Dimension titles, they love to put the most well known talent on the cover, not caring that this artwork resembles MANY of their other films. The back features a big shot of LL Cool J and 2 small shots from the movie. There is a well written description, an extras/tech spec listing and a credits list. While not award winning, this packaging does a good job of summing up this movie.

Final Word

The stand out performances in this movie are that of LL Cool J and Jonny Lee Miller. While nothing that is going to threaten the mantle of Marlon Brando, I think these guys are actually pretty solid in roles that are a bit different for them. Aside from being more prominent characters, these two show a bit of range in this well constructed thriller. Truthfully, I sort of wish that Christian Slater would step up to the plate more. At one time, he was a very big actor in these United States, but over the years he seems to have slipped away and in his comeback he doesn’t seem to be very discerning. Who knows? Maybe these are the only roles he can get, but I know that he has more range than the material his is currently doing.

I would recommend Mindhunters to people who fans of films like Identity. While I know that many consider Identity to be this amazing movie, on the whole I thought it was a decent thriller that tried to tie things up a bit too neatly at the end. While Mindhunters doesn’t really do that, it does keep you guessing.

Mindhunters was released May 7, 2004.