From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Mindhunters is a 2004 thriller film directed by Renny Harlin and written by Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin (with an uncredited rewrite by Ehren Kruger). Unusually, the last country to receive this film was the United States in 2005, because of the film's distribution rights being changed from 20th Century Fox to Dimension Films.
Template:Plot The titular Mindhunters are a group of young FBI students who are undergoing training as profilers. They travel with their instructor Jake Harris (Val Kilmer) to a small island off the coast of Virginia in order to complete a profiling exercise. The island is used as a training facility by the FBI and the military where a mock town has been constructed. Harris has arranged an elaborate training scenario for his students whereby their mission is to create a profile of a serial killer who has committed a murder in the town.
The students include Bobby (Eion Bailey), a young man with a talent for fixing things; Vince (Clifton Collins Jr.), a wheelchair-using ex-cop who goes nowhere without his gun; Nicole (Patricia Velasquez), a smoker who is attempting to quit; Sara (Kathryn Morris), a talented but insecure profiler who is also petrified of drowning; Gabe (James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J), an outside observer; Rafe (Will Kemp), a very intelligent, caffeine-powered British investigator; Lucas (Jonny Lee Miller), a supposedly fearless man whose parents were killed when he was a child; and J.D. (Christian Slater), their leader and Nicole's lover.
They arrive on the island and commence their investigation the following day. The group encounters an elaborate, Rube Goldberg or Heath Robinson style trap. J.D.'s position as leader of the group prompts him to investigate it more closely. His actions have fatal consequences as he is killed by liquid nitrogen. Convinced that this was not an accident, the group heads to the dock to leave the island. They fear that a killer is on the island with them. Their actions trigger another trap, this one destroying the boat they were going to use in order to escape. While recuperating from the last trap, Rafe makes some coffee which turns out to be drugged, knocking everyone out. They come to to discover that Rafe has been decapitated and exsanguinated while unconscious and that the killer has painted an elaborate group of numerical ciphers using Rafe's drained blood. Tensions run high among the group, and rest of the film focuses on their efforts to find and use messages from the killer as well as the resources at hand (including a fully stocked forensics lab and computer database) to learn when more victims will be killed while attempting to deduce which of them is the killer.
At first, suspicions seem to point to Gabe because of a map of the island found next to his bed. He temporarily deflects this when he saves Vince from yet another trap, although this indirectly leads to Bobby's death; due to his mechanical nature & while trying to shut off a water valve, he unknowingly triggers a device that fires a harpoon-tipped fletchet into his neck. Later, the results of a blood analysis collected from scraped skin samples found under Rafe's fingernails point to Sara, who denies being the killer; Lucas supports her. Nicole ultimately decides she cannot trust any of her colleagues and leaves while holding the others at gunpoint, resulting in her death; the stress of the situation causes her to relapse into her smoking addiction and while walking outside, she finds spontaneously vended pack of cigarettes. She steps out to smoke one and quickly learns that it has been laced with a strong acid, which eats her alive from the inside as Gabe and Lucas stare on in horror. Sara, meanwhile, finally deduces that the traps are based on their strengths, talents, and weaknesses and the remaining profilers elect to stick together, to keep an eye on each other. Unexpectedly, the island's speakers begin to broadcast a taunting message from none other than Harris, making them realize that he did not leave the island, though he led the profilers to believe that he had; convinced that he has been the killer all along, they search for him. Later, however, Sara, Gabe and Lucas find Harris and two other FBI agents next to him, all dead; Harris has been strung up to wires from the ceiling as a sort of marionette, just like the fake crime scene that they were to investigate. The three survivors quickly realize that the killer is one of them, and in the shootout that ensues, Gabe seemingly takes out Lucas. At the same time, Vince manages to crawl to the elevator but hears someone coming toward him. He fires his gun (he always keeps it handy after having been shot earlier as a cop) at the stranger, but it has been tampered with by the killer and explosively misfires, sending shards into his face and arm. Gabe and Sara then confront each other, each believing the other to be the serial killer. Lucas, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, returns and jumps Gabe from behind. The two violently attack one another, eventually falling through a glass ceiling. Gabe starts to get up but is knocked unconscious by Sara, who then begins to tend to Lucas.
Sara explains to Lucas the trick up her sleeve: she set a trap taking into account the killer’s obsession with time. However, this reveals that Lucas, not Gabe, is the real mastermind. Lucas says he was the one who murdered his parents, but after no one suspected him, he grew bored and required more intelligent peers as worthy prey.
Lucas muses that Sara has another weakness besides a fear of water: "Me". Lucas tries to drown Sara, but she manages to kick him into the water and an underwater gunfight ensues. In the end, after a feigned drowning, Sara gains the upper hand and wounds Lucas. Intending to survive, Lucas begins to taunt her about the evidence he planted blaming her, until Gabe reappears: he is the last witness. In a last desperate effort, Lucas attempts to regain his weapon, forcing Sara to kill him.
The film ends with Sara and Gabe flagging down a helicopter together. As they move to board, Sara wonders whether or not she has achieved profiler status.
- LL Cool J as Gabe Jensen
- Jonny Lee Miller as Lucas Harper
- Kathryn Morris as Sara Moore
- Patricia Velásquez as Nicole Willis
- Clifton Collins Jr. as Vince Sherman
- Eion Bailey as Bobby Whitman
- Will Kemp as Rafe Perry
- Val Kilmer as Jake Harris
- Christian Slater as J.D. Reston
- Trevor White as Attacker
- Cassandra Bell as Jen
- Jasmine Sendar as Jen's friend
- Anthone Kamerling as Man in bar
- Daniël Boissevain as Man in bar #2