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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mindhunters
Mindhunters
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R // September 20, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted September 24, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Renny Harlin's typical movie is an all out, balls to the walls action movie like Die Hard 2, or Deep Blue Sea; but he takes a chance with something a little lighter on the action and ratchets up the suspense for his latest release, Mindhunters.

Mindhunters takes no time in setting up the plot, after a brief training session which opens the film and sets up the premise of the movie, a group of FBI profilers are sent to a remote island that is used specifically for advanced training exercises. Val Kilmer in a very brief role presents the team of profilers with their task; get a profile on a killer dubbed The Puppeteer. The only information they have to go on is the name, and the knowledge in the fact that The Puppeteer has left a victim somewhere in this training facility. But like the Agatha Christie novel "And Then There Were None" details, something is awry and people start dying and naturally, the only logical conclusion on this deserted island is that a fellow team member must be doing this. What follows is a very briskly paced film that doesn't loosen its tight leash of tension until the somewhat disappointing finale.

Aside from his very brief appearance in the beginning of the film, Kilmer makes a very creepy cameo late in the film, and I actually found myself cringing at the scene even thinking about it. Christian Slater plays the front man of the team, taking control when necessary but almost to a fault. The rest of the cast Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Jonny Lee Miller(Hackers) and LL Cool J(Mama Said Knock You Out) put in merely average performances, but based on the script that's full of red herrings, that's about all they really could give.

One surprise within the story that I found to be slightly out of place was in the way that some of the team members die. It seems that Harlin has taken a cue from movies like Cube, and decided that not only is the death of someone required, but making it gory will enhance the tension and feeling of dread. Well, I found these types of death scenes to be useless to the story, as it didn't fit within the motivation of the killer, nor did it serve any other purpose within the confines of the story.

The DVD

How's it Look:

Dimension Home Video presents Mindhunters in a widescreen 2.35:1 viewing mode, enhanced for those of us with widescreen televisions. The colors throughout were presented very accurately and overall the transfer seemed very well done. I didn't notice any pixelation or edge enhancement that detracted from the overall presentation.

How's it Sound:

Mindhunters comes complete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is used quite well to being ambience to the empty streets and corridors that are featured prominently. The loud "scares" that were attempted throughout the movie packed good punch, and the dialog was crisp and clear during the entire feature.

For the linguists out there, a French audio option is also available.

Extras:

Three short featurettes are included on the Mindhunters DVD, and even though they are all relatively short there is some overlap in the content. One features Renny Harlin walking the camera and the viewer through the empty streets of the training town they created for the movie, another highlights the climatic fight scene in the movie, and a third is a behind the scenes feature. I'd suggest not watching these prior to the movie, as large spoilers are included in the feature which would give away the ending of the film.

Also included is a directors commentary, starring Renny Harlin. He does make this actually a decent commentary as he discusses various topics throughout, like post-production and what it's like to work with the cast. He even thanks the listener at the end to offer his gratitude.

Closing

Mindhunters while entertaining and quite tense, lost a lot in the believability due to the gore factor, and a few too many "jump" scares and plot twist fake outs. But for the type of movie it is, I can honestly say that I was surprised at how watch-able it was, because my expectations were quite low. This is definitely worth a rental at least.
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