The latest from director Renny Harlin ("Deep Blue Sea"), "Mindhunters" sat on the shelf for a long time, locking in one release date and then being moved to another. The film focuses on a group of FBI profilers-in-training, who are lead by instructor Jake Harris (Val Kilmer). The group (Johnny Lee Miller, Christian Slater, Patricia Valasquez, LL Cool J, Kathryn Morris, Eion Bailey, Will Kemp and Clifton Collins, Jr.) goes through a series of exercises, and then find themselves presented with a final test - they are flown to an island and given a matter of days to solve a murder case.
They arrive to find a rather creepy ghost town, and are gives clues at various stages of the test. The only problem? The group quickly realizes that this is not a test - they are being hunted, and whoever is doing it is leaving a series of traps that is taking them out one-by-one. They start forcefully investigating the island, and realize that they appear to be the only ones on the island, which turns every one of the remaining people against each other. Hints at the next time something will occur appear, and it's up to the remaining people to put aside their suspicions long enough to solve the case.
After a rather cornball opening, "Mindhunters" actually turns into a pretty tense little genre film during the middle of the running time. Harlin manages to create a pretty strong atmosphere, and keeps the tension going throughout a good chunk of the picture...at least until the last bit. Although the film certainly gets some suspense going, the twists and fake-outs start to become a little much. The acting isn't great, but the large ensemble cast at least turn in decent efforts.
Overall, "Mindhunters" is certainly nothing outstanding, but I found it to be a pretty decent popcorn movie.
VIDEO: "Mindhunters" is presented by Miramax in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is actually a very nice transfer, with strong sharpness and detail throughout the movie. Edge enhancement was detected in a couple of scenes, as well as the occasional instance of shimmer, but neither was really a concern. No pixelation or print flaws were spotted, and the film's subdued color palette appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was quite good, putting the surrounds to use effectively in several scenes for environmental sounds or distinct sound effects. The film's score isn't particularly memorable, but gets a nice spread across the front speakers. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and well-recorded sound effects.
EXTRAS: Although not a director whose work everyone is fond of, Renny Harlin does provide good commentaries and this one is no exception. Harlin talks about a wide variety of topics, such as going through a digital post-production process, shooting on location, working with the cast, creating the look of the film and working with effects, script and more.
There's also a brief "making of" (which shows a rather surprising amount of footage from late in the movie), a featurette on the making of a stunt sequence and finally, a look at the main city set of the movie.
Final Thoughts: "Mindhunters" certainly has flaws, and the movie starts falling apart in the last act, but a good portion of the movie stands as a pretty solid popcorn movie. Miramax's DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality, as well as a few decent supplements. Rent it.