Directed by Renny Harlin. Starring Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, LL Cool J, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, Patricia Velasquez, Clifton Collins Jr., Eion Bailey, Rafe Perry. (2005, R, 106 min.)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 13, 2005
As their reign at Miramax is drawing to a close, the outgoing powers-that-be at the distribution company must have decided that a Mindhunters is a terrible thing to waste, and thus yanked this movie off the shelf where it has been gathering dust for the last couple of years. Whatever the "plan" is for this current release, "entertaining the public" does not appear to be part of the design. Mindhunters is an absurd reworking of the Agatha Christie whodunit And Then There Were None, in which a group of people stranded in a remote location are bumped off one by one while the survivors try to figure out who among them is the killer. Here, a group of tyro FBI profilers are taken by their Langley instructor (Kilmer) to an isolated military compound for a weekend of simulated mind games. But things turn deadly very quickly, and the young, buff, junior G-men and -women realize that they are the hunted as well as the hunters. Go to the head of the class. This group of profilers seem an interchangeable lot, and so little distinguishes one from another that when they start getting bumped off it's difficult to care. If the future of profiling really depends on the quick wits of recruits such as these, our country may be doomed to attack from within. There are numerous points at which the viewer may want to scream at the profilers not to do the stupid things they nevertheless do (don't split up, don't go in the basement, etc.). And if the scruffy-looking Kilmer is what passes for Langley top brass these days, then someone's not doing their job enforcing the dress code. To its credit, Mindhunters does feature several inventive death traps that will appease the more bloodthirsty audience members, but everyone else will be scratching their heads trying to figure out why they have again been duped into seeing another unthrilling Renny Harlin thriller.