Mindhunters is a Surprisingly Good Thriller!!

Mindhunters is one of those films that has been on the shelf just long enough for you to not forget about it, but think “”wait a second, didn’t I see this already?”” Well in a sense you have, it was in Colin Farrell’s disastrous FBI procedural “”The Recruit.”” The difference between that film and this one is – Mindhunters for the most part works, and works really well.

Director Reny Harlin who did two of my favorite action films of all time “”The Long Kiss Goodnight”” and “”Die Hard 2″” returns to form in this tightly woven slice and dice film disguised as a police procedural.Christian Slater is trying real hard to get his career back on track, he stumbled with “”Alone In The Dark,”” but he’s you have to give him points for trying. In addition to Slater “”Mindhunters”” co-stars Val Kilmer and L.L. Cool J. How’s that for a weird triple threat? In “”Mindhunters”” Val Kilmer is FBI Agent Rafe Perry a burnout agent who is now forced to teach FBI Profiling techniques. His teaching methods are unorthodox, which may explain why he has such a small class of recruits. I mean sure the FBI is an elite organization and working in the profiling division is the elite of the elite. So sure, I believe that there are only seven students in his class. Slater’s J.D. Reston the cocky one of the bunch. He’s the guy who always has to be out front, the one who thinks of himself as the leader of the group, he constantly buts heads with Perry’s methods. Perry sets up an elaborate final exam, where his students are stranded on an abandoned island with no phones and are forced to solve a series of grotesque murder. Gabe Jensen (LL Cool J) tags along to investigate Perry’s suspect teaching methods. When team members start to die, they quickly realize that this is no longer a game, and that there is a real killer after them.The film becomes a combination slasher film and classic whodunit that keeps you guessing to the end. There are some truly nice kills and jump out of your seat moments. The acting is fairly strong (for this type of film), features a likable enough cast that make you care enough for their doomed characters. The killer has a thing about time he sends the team watches with the exact time when the next booby trap is tripped. The deaths are why you see a film like this, and here, they are mostly pedestrian, but done in an inventive and surprising way. The last twenty minutes of this almost sinks the film, when the killer is revealed, you think that it feels forced and implausible but I was able to go with it, what ruins the moment is that the additional final twist makes everything that happened before the twist seem silly. It’s as if the producers knew who they wanted the killer to be, but test audiences overruled them, so they went in and shot a different ending and just tacked it on. The trailers really doesn’t do this film justice. When I first walked in, I was expecting a standard by the number thriller along the lines of “”The Recruit,”” or even a standard whodunit, instead what I got was a tight, mix-mash of genres that work well as a popcorn flick.Final Grade BEM Review by Michelle AlexandriaPosted on 05/13/05


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