10 Years: “Mindhunters”

The problem with thrillers is that once you’ve seen the film and its thrills, it’s no longer as thrilling, if it ever was. Some are in fact successful and good, others, not so much. Either way, you can easily see how it tried or was a good film at that time, but now it is merely a reminder of what you liked about it in the first place.

The Dimension Films film “Mindhunters”, may never have been as clever as some of the thrillers before it, but it certainly succeeded more than most others.

This thriller stars LL Cool J (“NCIS: Los Angeles”, “Grudge Match”), Johnny Lee Miller (“Elementary”, “Byzantium”), Kathryn Morris (upcoming “The Perfect Guy”, “Roommate Wanted”), Patricia Velasquez (“Almighty Thor”, “Ugly Betty”), Clifton Collins Jr. (upcoming “Knight of Cups”, “Transcendence”), Eion Bailey (“Stalker”, “Once Upon a Time””), Will Kemp (“The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power”, “Petals on the Wind”), Val Kilmer (“Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn”, “The Spoils of Babylon”), and Christian Slater (upcoming “Mr. Robot”, “Archer”).

The film was directed by Renny Harlin (upcoming “Skiptrace”, “The Legend of Hercules”) and written by Wayne Kramer (“Crossing Over”, “Running Scared”) and Kevin Brodbin (“Constantine (2005)”, “The Glimmer Man”).

It debuted all over Europe before finally debuting in the US on May 13, 2005.

Oh, how the years have gone by. So much so that I can’t remember how it was I stumbled upon this film. Whatever the way, I was thrilled. Then, all these years later, and very few viewings of this, I’ve come back to it and I feel a bit let down. Nobody’s fault really, but it makes it difficult to enjoy the film. With a film crafted even mildly well, it makes it difficult to be even the slightest bit surprised or drawn in. Now that I think about it, that’s probably why I haven’t seen “The Others” in a long, long time.

Okay, so as I’m reviewing I discover I have a problem. I didn’t really take any notes when watching this. That sounds bad, on my part and the films, but when you think about it, it makes sense.

I still paid attention, but I didn’t really find much worth noting. Sad. It also doesn’t help, that (on the slight off chance) if you haven’t seen this, I don’t want to ruin it, even in the slightest. So very little can be discussed about it.

I can say, that while there are little histories about the characters, and fun bits of information learned about them, they’re not all that interesting. I don’t exactly think they’re annoying or tiresome, but you won’t come out of this blown away by a character or particularly moved. What, for obvious reasons, is most fascinating, involves the characters. It’s what they do. They’re FBI agents. FBI profilers. That’s fascinating stuff already, which certainly explains the popularity of “Criminal Minds”. That, I can say with certainty, is why I chose to watch it. It’s all of these aspects of this type of job that make this film interesting and fun. Of course, the mystery that makes up the majority of this film is even more compelling. Who is hunting the hunters? Again, it’s also why I can’t talk much about this film.

It’s one big who-dun-it.

I will say this. Even while it lacked the wow and suspenseful factors, like my first time, there was still something that resonated as fun. I’m not going to go so far as to say it hooked me or drew me in, but it certainly held my attention a bit more than I expected. Of course, none of this is helped by the fact that I still remembered everything that happened in the film. Definitely makes it harder to become invested when you know how it will all play out.

While this is a Harlin film, it’s probably his best one in a long time, even considering what he’s made since this came out. That’s actually saying a lot.

I like a good thriller. However, they’re hard to come by. Some are truly amazing, others squeak by with a passing grade, and then there are the ones that wish they were better. When watching this I saw everything (that I’m certain) made me really like this film. It’s too bad my memory’s better than expected and that the story itself stuck with me all these years later. If you’ve ever tried watching “The Sixth Sense” again, you’ll probably understand this feeling or idea. While this piece may not be as in depth, on anything really, I can hope for at least one thing. That someone may choose to watch this for the first time, or revisit it. This is a nice little known film, so while it’s not going to make anyone’s top 100 films list, or any number you give it, it still has a purpose. It can serve as is a “what to do/what not to do” with thrillers.

I leave you with the trailer.


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