Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Renny Harlin Week: Mindhunters

* I'm moving the films around a bit for reasons that should be clear later *

A mind is a terrible thing to hunt.  Today's film is Mindhunters.  Don't worry- we'll cover Renny Harlin's first '90s debacle soon enough.  In the meantime, here's Harlin's re-Written, re-Edited and re-shot 'classic.'  It's an interesting exercise in show over substance.  This is truly C.S.I.: The Movie!  Fittingly enough, some of the re-shoots were done to include Kathryn Morris, who was just beginning to star in Cold Case, a show made due to the success of C.S.I. in the first place.  Confused yet?  The film is about a group of FBI Agents-in-Training going to a remote island to practice catching an Un-Sub (aka Unidentified Subject).  Yeah, this clearly happens in real-life!  The film has a slew of Actors that only appear in B-Movies like this, including Val Kilmer (former star), Christian Slater (former star) and L.L. Cool J (now appearing in a CBS spin-off...of a spin-off).  You'll see goofy gore, silly errors and an overall sense of 'Let's just make shit up as we go!'  It's kind of a sight to behold, even if it is really, really silly.  To find out who the killer is (and why it makes no sense), read on...
In the Cold Open, Slater and Morris investigate a crime scene and die...only for it to be revealed as a test.  That part when they DROVE to the house/test site was part of it too, huh?
They go to a private island rented out by their Teacher (Kilmer).  Nice of the Director to shoot this wide-shot that shows the Sound Crew.  It was even nicer of the Editor to NOT CATCH this shot, even after multiple re-Edits.
As it turns out, the island is full of trap, including this implausible Liquid Nitrogen trap that causes Slater's body to snap into a dozen pieces.

Just to note: he only dies b/c him and the group stand completely still and watch a Rube Goldbergian series of devices move to create the effect.  You didn't notice the giant tanks sitting there?!?
Their way out is blocked when the only boat is blown up.  They'd take the Helicopter, but they saw Kilmer leave with the two Pilots.  Bear this in mind for later.
 If you think that I'm exaggerating about the C.S.I. thing, I direct you to this 'doing science stuff' montage about setting up blood tests and the like.  Subtle.
It seems that the killer (Kilmer) is taunting them over the P.A.  I sure hope that they can solve this easily-deciphered mystery by...oh, he's dead.

Fun fact: they reveal the killer right here.  They still think that the Ending reveal is a twist though.  Joy.
Despite a long sequence 'proving' that the killer is LL Cool J, it turns out to be the former Mr. Angelina Jolie (aka Johnny Lee Miller).  He even faked his being shot to death to, nothing.

What was the point of that again?  It's especially silly when he just show up later to help Morris beat J.  What was your plan again?
The pair have a gun fight that would make Jamie and Adam cry.  Yeah, you couldn't possibly fire a second shot.  I'd rather watch the underwater bar fight from Top Secret anyhow.
As it turns out, J survives a fall onto metal steps and a club to the head via a fire extinguisher since Morris "hits like a girl."  Ha ha- Feminism!

As a bonus, they shoot Miller, leading to LL Cool J delivering the worst 'bad guy is dead' joke in history.  He says "Well, we know what his weakness was..."
Silly, silly, silly.  This movie certainly had potential, but it was clearly never going to be all that good.  The premise is so weird and goofy that it had no chance to be taken seriously.  An entire island set up as a fake crime scene- b/c you often to go coastal towns that are entirely one crime scene- but is actually set up with traps by a killer- goofy.  If Kilmer turned out to be the killer, this premise might be plausible.  It would be an obvious twist, but you could still have played with it.  Instead, it's a guy who shows up and *immediately* sets up a complex trap with Liquid Nitrogen with nobody noticing!  Later, he drugs everyone- but not himself- and sets up a serious of traps.  Not only that, but he plans on them *escaping* some traps...which is just set up for more traps.  Stop using your Script-Reading Powers!  The movie's plot is full of even more holes.  For example, he rigs one guy's gun to explode in his face...but when.  LL Cool J uses it many times in one scene, but to no effect.  Compile that with the guy taking an ammo clip from *a different gun* that wouldn't fit in his own and you have something silly.  There's a bunch more here too, but I won't SPOIL all of them.  On top of that, there's some silly gaffes behind-the-scenes like Security Cameras with cords to them...yet that record video.  How do you miss that?!?  As a whole, the film is a goofy, stylish mess.  It's the right kind of bad Harlin movie.  I'll leave you with Christian Slater's one reason for being in the movie...
Next up, one of two famous flops by Harlin that feature his then-current wife- Geena Davis.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely agree with your review. It was very silly, but entertaining. Enjoyed Christian Slater's role.