ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Mindhunters (2005)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Renny Harlin

Starring:
LL Cool J/Gabe
Jonny Lee Miller/Lucas
Val Kilmer/Jake
Christian Slater/JD
PLOT-CRUNCH
Seven FBI profiler trainees are sent to a remote island by their oddball superior (Kilmer) to complete their training. Once there, they learn that a mock case has been engineered for them and that they have to catch a simulated wacko named “The Puppeteer”. Things go way batty when it turns out that there’s a bona fide serial killer in their midst and that he/she is getting off on messing with their melons and taking them out in inventive ways. My kind of party!
THE LOWDOWN

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe...who’s the next motherfucker to go?"-- Gabe

I love Renny Harlin. Why? "Prison", "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane", "Die Hard 2", "Cliffhanger", "Deep Blue Sea", The Long Kiss Goodnight and "Driven", that’s why!  For causes unknown to me, Mindhunters' North American release date has been pushed back countless times by Dimension Films since 2003. They did the same thing with two other fine films "Below" and "Equilibrium". Well now is the time! “Mindhunters” has finally found its way onto the big screen (opens May 13 2005)!

As I was dancing with this cinematic badass, I kept saying to myself: ”This has gotta be one of the most effortless movies I’ve ever had to sit through”. Was the whole somewhat implausible? In places. Was it manipulative? Oh yeah! But I forgave it for that jive quickly and let myself be taken for the bumpy ride! Props to the king of "wham-bam" Renny Harlin, who puts out an airtight wing-ding of brutal bonbon that just wouldn’t stop winning me over via its relentless canon blasts of scrumptious horror conventions. We get it all here genre-fiends: a spine-chilling setting, imaginative booby traps, gory and wicked kills, ample macabre ideas (loved the “puppet” bit), mind-numbing riddles, slick killer MOs (adored the watch thing), flamboyant action set pieces (the gun/fist fights owned), a whodunit that kept me on my thumbs the whole way and a slew of unpredictable plot twists that backhanded me silly like the buffoon that I am. Add to that, Harlin lacing his twisted tale in riveting visuals and you get an already hard-hitting trip, jacked up to an even more rousing level! I felt like I was in the ring with Ivan Drago, being pummeled to a bloody pulp from all sides! THANK YOU FOR THE WHOOPING!

The appealing cast and the semi-drawn out characters they interpreted also lent a helping hand in making the proceedings exceptionally absorbing. The players were all likeable to various degrees and each of their characters brought something crucial to the extensive mindrape going on. I treasured ”The Thing”-like conflict they had between each other and at how the slaughterer capitalized on their individual weaknesses to snag them! FUN STUFF! Granted, Slater and Kilmer fans won’t get their fill with both stars basically punching in extended cameos here, but that actually played in the narrative’s favor! Having a cast of mostly unknowns in the forefront upped the unpredictability factor in terms of who was going to check out next. I was lapping it all up like Colin Farrell licking booze off the floor! Now if only LL Cool J would die in at least one of his films! Is that why the Ladies Love Cool J? Or is it that tight tanktop showing off those bulging biceps? COME ON LL! BITE THE BULLET ONCE!! Do it for Arrow!

Unfortunately, "Mindhunters" did sport some shortcomings. It moved too fast for its own good every now and then, the characters took part in the occasional dumb-ass move and minor plot holes arose along the way. But to be honest, those flaws didn’t grate me much. The film’s heftiest muck-up took place during its last act where logic was totally discarded in order to muddle our craniums. The approach wasn’t fair and it didn’t make much sense either. SHAME ON YOU LADDIES! Lastly, the killer’s motive for his dire actions was “ho-hum”, to say the least. According to this movie, they let any “yahoo” into the FBI. No wonder our society is in the shitter! And is it me or do psychos have too much time on their hands? Just get a job, get drunk and get laid dude(ette)! That’s all you need, bro-ham! It’s all about the love!

When the end credits rolled, I had a big grin on my stupid face. "Mindhunters" was a mostly well written, cruel and unrelenting outing that never stopped once to gasp for air...resulting in one hell of a fulfilling horror sitdown. The Finnish madman does it again! Good show, mate! HUNT THIS MOVIE DOWN NOW RECRUITS!

GORE
Harlin is not one to hold back on the goodies and he delivered here once more. We get a way slick bit where a dude gets his legs and body broken after being frozen by nitrogen, a headshot, arrows in the neck, nasty acid burns, a dude mounted on hooks (homage to Hellraiser?), a decapitated head, a mangled arm and face, hung cats, Val Kilmer’s huge head and more!
ACTING
LL Cool J (Gabe) was at his naturalistic best! The man has honed his acting stills over the years and I really dug him here. Jonny Lee Miller (Lucas) did fine, but he obviously struggled with that accent big time! Eion Bailey (Bobby) and Will Kemp (Rafe) both were very credible and charismatic in their roles. Val Kilmer (Harris) showed up long enough to say his lines and show off his huge head. Kathryn Morris (Sara) was a revelation here. I totally warmed up to her charismatic presence. I want to see more of this actress! Christian Slater (JD) worked like a charm as per usual (I love that guy!) and Patricia Velasquez (Nicole) handled herself adequately.
T & A
It's ladies night with this one with LL Cool J in a tank top and a Christian Slater butt shot. We get a "don’t blink or you'll miss it" shot of tit. Back to my Hustler mag I go for the knuckle shuffle!
DIRECTING
I always revered Harlin’s visual stamp and thankfully, he went nuts with it again here! The whole film was mostly bathed in a bluish hue with creative angles up the kazoo, lots of gripping slow motion moments and gorgeous shot compositions all over the place. The man also knew a thing or two about pacing, where the film just never stopped to take a breather. It should be said that the “final showdown” alone was worth shaving off an hour and a half of my life in terms of staging and panache. Now that was a freaking gnarly scene and then some! HARLIN IS THE MAN!
SOUNDTRACK
We get an appropriately somber score, as well as some techno and industrial ditties. Some fine wine baby!
BOTTOM LINE
How a sub-par opus like "Halloween 8" can get a wide release in the blink of a carrot while this genre-bully got the "shelf" totally eludes me. SHEESH! It took a while but this candy-plane has finally landed!  "Mindhunters" was "Identity" without the bogus twist and what "Eye See You" should’ve been: fast-paced, unpredictable, gory, clever and just a whole lot of damn warped fun! Sure, the flick wasn’t as smart as it thought it was and the last act stumbled a few times, but on the whole, it was a gas! You in the mood to switch off the brain and get agreeably lobotomized by Dr. Harlin? Hunt this mind-rapist down and get ready to chow down on a full Happy Meal!
BULL'S EYE
"Mindhunters" was shot in various locations in the Netherlands including JoBlo's city of birth, Amsterdam.

Christian Slater’s character was named JD here, the same name as his character in “Heathers”.

This film was originally scheduled for release in April 2003.
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8:22PM on 08/29/2005

Awesome

I love this movie. It was everything I hoped it to be and more. I cared about the characters,(the wheelchair dude and the foreign guy were awesome). The ending, I thought was cool, and the final twist kicked my ass. Check this movie out.
I love this movie. It was everything I hoped it to be and more. I cared about the characters,(the wheelchair dude and the foreign guy were awesome). The ending, I thought was cool, and the final twist kicked my ass. Check this movie out.
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