Mindhunters (Arrow Recommends)

Mindhunters (Arrow Recommends)
7 10

Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site.

PLOT: Seven FBI profiler trainees are sent to a remote island by their cool cat superior (Kilmer) to complete their training. Once there, they learn that a mock case has been set up for them and that they have to catch a simulated psychopath named “The Puppeteer”. Things go to shite when it turns out that there’s an actual serial killer in their midst and that he/she is getting off on messing with their melons and taking them out in inventive/grisly ways. My kind of party! Where's the punch bowl?

" Iny, miny, miny, mo. Who's the next motherf*cker to go? " - Gabe

LOWDOWN: From roughly 1987 up to 2004 Ace director Renny Harlin could do no wrong in my book of fun times! A lesser Harlin film (like the Stallone starring race flick Driven or his Pirate epic Cutthroat Island for example) was still more entertaining than half the drivel that was schlepped my way. Which brings me to MINDHUNTERS (get the DVD or watch it HERE) a stylish, gory and taunt little thriller that reminded me of the original SAW in terms of some of its elements; like the elborate traps and the puppet inspired killer all wrapped up in a stimulating whodunit. So much so, that I had to check out which one came first.  

Although SAW was pumped out in 2004 and MINDHUNTERS in 2005, it seems that the latter came first, as it was originally set for a US theatrical release in 2003, then got pushed up a couple of times to give it a better slot to then finally land in limbo when Disney and Miramax finalized their divorce at the time. Mindhunters was finally unleashed upon the big screen in the US of A in May of 2005 to little fanfare which is kind of a shame cause although dumb as f*ck in places, I can’t deny the fact that it was a mucho amusing ride the whole way through.

Written by Wayne Kramer (who penned and directed one of fav films Running Scared), Mindhunters (originally named Unsub which is FBI slang for Unknown Subject), kicked in with quite the groovy premise! FBI recruits sent to an island to play out a simulation – winds up there’s a real killer running amuck. ENJOY! The flick went on to spread about all kinds of deliciously macabre imagery (the ghost town gave me the brrs and I loved that human puppet… you’ll see), tantalized my brain with a groovy whodunit, sported clever dialogue and one-liners (“I guess we found out his weakness: bullets.“) while the whole unraveled via a swift and action driven pace. 

Moreover, the kills on hand had a tendency to be novel and fairly messy. Although some of the effects were a tad dated by today’s standards, much respect to director Renny Harlin for going practical with his red grub for the most part as he felt CGI would take away from the film's credibility. The killer’s M.O. greased me right too! Much like Jigsaw, he loved laying out elaborate traps, but in this case, the traps were inspired by one of the victim’s personal weaknesses, which made way for some sly offings.

What about the cast you may ask? Bang on for the most part! ALL GOOD. Am talking Clifton Collins Jr., Val Kilmer (rocking quite the cool hair-doo), Kathryn Morris (who really impressed me, solid showcase), Eion Bailey, Will Kemo, Christian Slater, LL Cool J (who piled on the charisma once again) and Jonny Lee Miller.  Add to all that Harlin’s signature kinetic syle greasing my retinas right, an adequate score and some random circumstantial dark humor and you get a badass chiller that delivered in the brainless good time department. Any beefs with this one? Some.

My issues with this sucka mostly had to do with the last act. For starters a suspect was focused on way too much by the group at some point and logic was thrown out the window because the story needed it to. It didn’t feel organic or rational– it felt forced to serve the plot and I found it grating. Then we had the killer’s expositional “why he/she did it" monologue that was meh and clumsy at best. It didn’t help matters that the motive was weak tit and then some. Finally, although the final fight was exciting enough, the vibe was somewhat ruined by the wrong music backing up the action, taking away from its potential impact in the process. PS: Was it me, or was Patricia Velasquez’s performance a off?

All in all though, I can think of worse ways to kill two hours than giving the little seen MINDHUNTERS a whirl. It's sleek, pimps a rapid fire pace, is unsettling in places, it revells in its exploitation elements and has Val Kilmer looking cool as f*ck with long hair and a money trench coat. If that’s not a badass way to accompany a plate of nachos and a cold ass beer -I don’t know what is. Give Mindhunters a shot! Overlooked little nasty.




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