2005 - R - 105 Mins.
|Director: Renny Harlin|
|Producer: Cary Brokaw|
|Written By: Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin|
|Starring: Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, LL Cool J, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, Will Kemp |
|Review by: Joe Rickey
|Official Site: www.mindhunters-thefilm.com/|
It certainly isn't any great shakes but 'Mindhunters' avoids shooting blanks in its telling of a serial killer stalking a group of FBI Profilers on the fictional "Onega Island."
Will you release the dang film already?!
'Mindhunters' has been sitting on the shelves at Dimension collecting dust for what seems like ages -- though it's actually only been two years or so, I've lost count. Let's briefly examine some possible reasons for this:
1. The film is patently awful
2. The Weinstein brothers have something against Renny Harlin
3. Dimension Films is run by a bunch of monkeys who wouldn't know a good film if it hit them in the face
The reality of the situation is somewhere in between the three. 'Mindhunters' is a B-movie through and through, and director Renny Harlin, the man responsible for such action extravaganzas as 'Deep Blue Sea', 'Cliffhanger' and 'Driven' -- Yes, you read that right: two of the three aforementioned films starred Sly Stallone ("Yo Adrian") -- embraces the B-ness of the genre in all its "glory" if you want to call it that.
Harlin utilizes an in-your-face cinematic style that, along with a screenplay (authored by, among others, Wayne Kramer, the man behind the film 'The Cooler' with William H. Macy) features at least one wink at the audience every five minutes or so. The end result is a purposefully cliché journey into the oft-mined serial killer sub-genre that has just about been beaten to death by 2005. The film goes as far as to continuously pile plot twist upon plot twist until only the most astute viewers will be able to keep their heads from spinning as they try and keep up. Also, as perhaps a nod to the current popularity of crime dramas on American television airwaves, the film has a scene that appears to have been lifted wholesale from an episode of "CSI" (Any one of the three, take your pick).
With a film like this one, the acting is secondary to the plot twists but still of some importance because it is up to the actors to let us in on the joke. Accordingly, Christian Slater and Val Kilmer both show up for a few minutes in full over-acting mode before promptly leaving, but not before they probably stopped off at the bank to cash the check they received for making said appearance. Needless to say, it's doubtful they were attracted to their roles by the material or the opportunity to expand their repetoire. Once the cameo marquee players have come and gone, it's left to relative unknowns such as Kathryn Morris (TV's "Cold Case"-- a "CSI" copycat) and Jonny Lee Miller along with Renny Harlin fave LL Cool J, to carry the film. The first two appear content to go through the motions, basically playing their roles as blank slates that, in actuality, works for the purposes of the film because then anyone could be the killer. LL Cool J eschews the a priori approach in favor of a style that can only be described as "Too cool (pun intended) for school" in that he mostly looks down on the others like ants in an ant farm.
While I cannot with a good conscience recommend it as a bona fide thriller, ‘Mindhunters’ still provides a perverse and otherwise cheesy serving of entertainment. Those looking for a thrillride that doesn't demand much emotional investment, may find it worth seeing.