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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 10, 2023



COMEDIAN MARTIN LAWRENCE, for once, plays a serious dramatic role as a police detective in Arkansas in “Mindcage”. 

As Jake Doyle, he is assigned to track down a serial killer who murder women whose bodies he dresses up in elaborate angel costumes. 

He is assisted by a female colleague Mary Kelly (Melissa Roxburgh) and they believe the culprit is a copycat killer of an older serial killer called The Artist (John Malkovich), who is now in jail and is awaiting execution. 

The Artist has killed six women before, whose bodies he decorates with religious ornaments.

Mary seeks the help of The Artist to help them stop the murders by apprehending the copycat killer whose modus operandi imitates exactly that of the older criminal.

This plot element of the female detective interviewing The Artist inside his prison cell is something we’ve definitely seen before.

Yes, it could have been very interesting, if it were not for the fact that it has been done before by Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  

Both Foster and Hopkins won the Oscar for their performances, and we seriously doubt if this would be duplicated by the actors in “Mindcage”. 

In all fairness to “Mindcage”, it has a capable cast. John Malkovich is properly creepy like Hopkins as the brilliant serial killer who turns out to be hiding an ace up his sleeve. 

He certainly knows how to chew the scenery by underplaying his scenes for effect.

Martin Lawrence (looking so overweight compared to the “Bad Boys” days) is quite capable in his rare dramatic performance. 

His Jack Doyle is the cop who got to arrest The Artist before, with him witnessing his original partner committing suicide right in front of him. 

In the story, his character also springs an incredible preposterous twist in the end.  

Melissa Roxburgh as the diligent, go-getting colleague of Lawrence who turns out to have a very complicated past, also knows how to ham it up to a level suited for this kind of derivative movie that is executed without so much additional flair. 

At least, their watchable performances help in making you stick with the story until the very end, which you can already guess before the film reaches its demented climax.   

The story is credited to Director Mario Borelli (“The Recall”, an alien invasion flick), but the full script was written Reggie Keyohara who failed to make it more exciting with its uninspired plotting and lackluster characters that have really not much depth. 

It tries to inject some religious philosophizing about archangels and how the human mind can easily be corrupted. 

This sounds like it has some potential but they fail to mine it effectively enough to make it work.  

Actually, the most interesting, if somewhat perverse, element in the movie, it is the production design of the murder victims. 

They are ornately posed and costumed like interesting objects of art with religious symbolism.  

But of course, if dead bodies are the most noteworthy thing in a movie, this is surely not a very good sign of how the movie is.