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Dimension Films presents
Mindhunters (2005)

"So, tomorrow I have a senior staff meeting with the director, a cue for a performance review, and an academy course to prep. But now, instead, I get to waste my whole day at your funerals."
- Jake Harris (Val Kilmer)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: September 21, 2005

Stars: LL Cool J, Christian Slater, Johnny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris
Other Stars: Patricia Velasquez, Clifton Collins Jr, Eion Bailey, Will Kemp, Val Kilmer
Director: Renny Harlin

MPAA Rating: R for violence, strong graphic images, language, and sexual content
Run Time: 01h:46m:21s
Release Date: September 20, 2005
UPC: 786936244557
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- D+A-A- C+

DVD Review

Mindhunters is a film that relies on plot contrivances so heavily that it becomes a sort of game within the film to guess how or when a character will die based largely on how many times they repeat their central weakness. Eventually, we learn that the killer knows these things about the characters because he is—gasp!—one of them. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book and this film follows it to a "T", complete with red herrings and a level of ridiculousness.

Gathered together on an island that serves as a training ground for FBI criminal profilers a group of agents are dispatched to hunt a fake serial killer while being monitored by high-tech surveillance cameras in an effort to see if they have what it takes to handle the real thing. The roster reads like a mandatory list of stock film characters including a wise cop (LL Cool J), a cocky showboat (Slater), the beautiful brain (Morris), the sexy newcomer (Velasquez), and Clifton Collins Jr. as a wheelchair-bound profiler who is not making the grade. As they start to drop, it becomes clear that someone is hunting them and using their strengths and weaknesses to trap them.

If all of this seems predictable it is no match for how convenient the film becomes and how little logic plays in anything that happens in the film. For one, the island is wired with traps so elaborate and carefully constructed that it becomes clear that whoever the killer is they must have spent months and millions to prepare for the possibility that these people may reach the island. More to the point the film piles on the deaths one after another and it works for awhile until it becomes clear that there is nothing supporting the deaths or the traps.

Harlin pulls the strings well enough, giving the film a sort of eerie feel, but it is in his storytelling that he fails. Harlin has no trouble offering an effective if predictable setup, throwing in twists and turns, but eventually Harlin has to begin fleshing out the story and cannot keep up. By the time the reveal comes along I found that I just didn't care anymore.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer for Mindhunters is better than the film deserves with a very filmlike look. Colors are deep and rich with no bleeding, while the numerous nighttime sequences show no grain.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for Mindhunters offers an effective mix that showcases the surround speakers quite effectively. Ambient sounds and directional effects are crisp in the split channels while the .1 LFE track offers solid and tension building bass. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Renny Harlin
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Director Renny Harlin offers a commentary track in which he discusses his technique, how he crafted some of the action set pieces, and provides more information about the elements that go into crafting a film than many tracks I have heard recently.

There is also a brief promotional making-of, a look at the construction of the sets, and a piece on filming a fight sequence.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

There are better films to see. Many many more.


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