Mindhunters Renny Harlin

Mindhunters Renny Harlin
It's Friday the 13th, time to bring out a marginally exciting thriller! Originally scheduled for an early 2004 release, marketing and staffing issues prevented Mindhunters from making it into distribution until now. Actually, the concept behind this film is slightly intriguing: take a group of FBI agents learning how to profile serial killers, bring them to an island-based training facility and maroon them with a psychopath. Good times for all.

Renny Harlin, director of cinematic gems such as A Nightmare on Elm Street Four: The Dream Master, has created a movie with a great sense of timing, and the moments of suspense will make you jump. Unlike typical slasher films, there is a minimal amount of gore in the film, which is good because when the CGI is in full effect, it is of very poor quality, with an emphasis on very poor quality.

Since identity is a key theme of the film, the cardboard cut-out character development is quite unfortunate. While adding a few high profile actors to the credits may help distract from this lack of innovation, the casting is poorly done. Val Kilmer, for example, is too young for his role as the jaded company man who has seen it all. Likewise, it is difficult to take Christian Slater seriously as an up and coming young agent. Conversely, LL Cool J (credited as James Todd Smith) actually does a good job of playing the mysterious eighth wheel of the group.

Despite all its flaws, including a disappointing ending that is less "I never would have guessed that in a million years" and more "meh," as far as whodunit?/serial killer flicks go, this is an enjoyable release. It is just more of a "Saturday afternoon at home" rather than "Friday night at the theatre" film. (Alliance Atlantis)