Masterminds (1997) Poster

(1997)

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Why isn't this on DVD?
llamagirl5911 May 2003
I was one of the few who saw this movie in the theater back in '97. It really made me a fan of Vincent Kartheiser.

This movie is largely recommended for fans of either Kartheiser or Patrick Stewart, and it's surprising that there hasn't been a DVD release (that I've found). Both actors have a huge amount of screen time, and the movie itself looks great visually.

Stewart really camps it up, and appears to have had fun playing "Rafe" as an over-the-top villain. Sometimes the performance goes a little too over, though. Kartheiser did the best he could with the stereotyped "bad boy" image. I thought at first he seemed a little old for the role, but as the movie progressed I couldn't see anyone else in the part.

The movie has been compared to "Toy Soldiers", and also dubbed "Die Hard, Jr." While these elements do seem strong in the movie (plus the need for things to go KABOOM!), it doesn't seem to ruin the fun. Just check reality at the door and not worry about the details.

Could it have been better? Yes. Is it unwatchable? No. Will the adults like it? Maybe (fans of anyone in it especially).

Did I mention I really want this on DVD? Please!
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10/10
Seen the movie several times and love it
xoxma_alex13 May 2002
I first saw this movie on cable, and loved it. After that i saw it a few more times, and each time noticed a little someting more new. Adults (over 25) may think of this as a foolish or dull movie, but it was not targeted towards them. It was targeted towards the high schooler who wishes something like this could happen so that he could feel better about himself. Each individual part is very well acted, and adjusted to work with the acting styles of the other actors. The harmony among the actors is impresive to say the least. V. Kartheizer is an actor that very few have heard of, but the work he does is outstanding. If you are looking for a movie to see on a friday night, this is it.
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7/10
Technologically literate teen comedy
DFC-230 March 1999
All right, the plot IS stupid. There are, however, very few films that treat computer work and technology at all well, even fewer show a realistic malcontent teen as a hero, and both Stewart and Kartheiser do an excellent job within the limits of the material.
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Die Hard for Kids
Stefan Tetelepta26 February 1999
Like Ozzie says when it's getting wrong: 'We have a Die Hard situation'. But its Die Hard for kids, a thousand bullets, without anyone getting hurt, no swearing and no sex. See it on video, it's for anyone above 10 and PG? I think not, parents could be very bored watching this. I myself (28) enjoyed it.
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9/10
simply fun
LiZard1531 July 2004
I must say after sneaking several clips of die hard behind my parents back, i actually found this movie quite entertaining.

I first heard of this movie from the friend of a friends sawing they didn't like it at all and that it was a sucky movie. Not really the best reason to rent a movie but then again I was getting real tired real quick out of all the romance comedies that my mother and sister had been renting, (Twenty is enough to kill someone) this action flick is very good.

The director brought action and comedy into the movie. The script was very well written except for in one or two spots but other than that if you like a teenage hacker kicking bad guys @$$ you'll enjoy this flick staring Vincent Kartheiser and Patrick Stewart. Both actors give a fine performance. I'm not use to seeing Patrick Stewart in a bad guy role (parents star trek fans) but he pulled it off well. Kartheiser was a face i hadn't seen before but he is a very talented actor and also was believable in the film as the hacker teen.

The movie carries itself fine though i thought the ending could be a little better but i still liked the film. 9/10 is how i rate it.
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7/10
completely silly, but kinda cool
Lee Eisenberg17 March 2006
We've seen movies about crafty teenagers playing a cat-and-mouse game with thieves so many times that it all gets blurred. But "Masterminds" is pretty entertaining. When shyster Rafe Bentley (a mustachioed Patrick Stewart) takes a school hostage, troublemaker Oswald Paxton (Vincent Kartheiser) decides to make Rafe's life a living hell. In a way, the movie is mostly a series of gags, but well done gags. This movie probably won't have any major effect on the cinematic landscape, but it doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't. It's pure, unadulterated fun.

Maybe if thieves ever take over a place, I'll just use some of the gags that I learned from "Masterminds".
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5/10
Flawed but enjoyable Die Hard clone
TheOtherFool5 April 2004
'No good kid' Ozzie takes his young stepsister to school, and winds up in a hostage of the school by head of security Rafe Bentley (Patrick Stewart from Startrek / X-men). As Ozzie says himself: We got a die hard situation here people!

Thank goodness Ozzie is some sort of (computer)whizkid (apparently learned it from his dad) and sabotages the bad guys in many ways. Now, this computer thing is going way out of hand, with him infiltrating in the Pentagon (or something) in the beginning of the movie and his dad touching 2 keys and immediately infiltrates in the bad guys files... You also see the obligatory flickering 'NO ACCESS' and stuff like that... but who cares!

Near the end the movie loses it's touch a bit with a chase in the sewers (or something) and Patrick Stewart claiming to be a Manchester United fan... one of the worst scenes in movie history, I must admit.

But for 'one of the worst movies ever' (as it's sometimes called), I thought the movie was highly enjoyable. Flawed yes, far-fetched sure, but still...

Final score: 5/10.
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10/10
very crafty
izz99925 September 2003
i loved this movie, not only because i love Vincent Kartheiser, but because I liked the movie in a whole the script was entertaining and the things the character did were just so crafty, so well thought out it was kind of like home alone in a sense. A kid taking on an adult, outsmarting him. i enjoyed watching it. i would recommend it.
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8/10
A very fun movie
vinna19 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Masterminds may not be deep, but it's lots of fun. Action-packed, but as nobody actually gets killed, it's also good for kids. I'd say 10 and up would enjoy it. It was nice to see Patrick Stewart play a bad guy, and I think Vincent Kartheiser was great. This is the first thing I ever saw him in and it inspired me to hunt down some of his other films. I really wish this would come out on DVD. Also, it had a nice little twist at the end that I didn't see coming. Maybe it was because I was distracted by all the action. (And a sweaty Callum Keith Rennie in a small but scenic role) All in all I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, entertaining way to spend two hours.
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Action and violence w/o any deaths
DrEbert21 May 2001
One of the things I liked about MASTERMINDS, and parents will probably like this too, is that there is lots of shooting and explosions and all kinds of action. But the body count continuously remains at zero! Like someone said before, this is DIE HARD for kids. (It follows almost the exact plotline)

Overall, great movie, especially for kids 10-15.

4/5
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Most fastforwarded movie in a looong time
Cactus-525 April 1999
Apart from laughing my bollocks off at the computer software and the way nobody gets hurt even from stepping on mines, I fastforwarded my way through this movie because nothing in it was even remotely interesting, apart from the odd question marks, such as "why are there rocketlauncher armed dunebuggys in the sewers" and "how did the principal and the kids actually get away" and the ever occurring, my personal favourite, "how come the bad guys always are listening for obscure radio transmissions when they don't even need a radio to begin with". More questionmarks: Why did the sprinkler system only start in the room where they had the computers, and why did they have the valve for it in the sewers? How come there are video outlets for porno channels in the cellar of the school? (Pure video outlets, not RF outlets)
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4/10
very unmasterly
fairygirl41112 July 2002
This is, well, a silly movie. The script is terrible, even if you look at it as a movie for kids. And that's another thing -- it's geared towards kids, and yet I'm not sure this is a movie I'd show to kids. It's extremely violent and concerns a highly traumatic situation involving young children -- not to mention that the hero is a juvenile delinquent (NOT the misunderstood kind) who wins out by playing all sorts of illegal tricks. In fact, his actions are very much glorified by the fact that he can "mastermind" the "real" criminals, as well as by his constant, triumphant little asides. Oh -- and if you're only interested in this movie because you're a Vincent Kartheiser fan, don't bother. This is not what I'd call one of his best performances.
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2/10
Not Made by a Mastermind.
Python Hyena10 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Masterminds (1997): Dir: Roger Christian / Cast: Vincent Kartheiser, Patrick Stewart, Brenda Fricker, Matt Craven, Bradley Whitford: Certainly not the work of a mastermind. It is a pitiful embarrassment about a battle of wills between a deviant kid and a security adviser. Patrick Stewart plays the security adviser who will take over a school with his ruthless recruits and hold an auditorium full of children hostage. While his troops hold off police he makes a demand for cash. A young computer hacker will damage those plans and the film along with it. Very stupid with director Roger Christian going totally overboard. Vincent Kartheiser comes off as a really bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation as he repeatedly messes up the villain's plans. None of this is believable and Kartheiser's action scenes leave little to desire. Stewart is way too talented for this. His villain is reasonable but seems too intelligent for the foolish antics pitted against him here. Bad supporting performances by Brenda Fricker and Matt Craven who should regret this film decision. This is pretty much ranking as one of the dumbest ideas presented to viewers in a film all year. Fine location but story is pointless without a shred of realism but then again the film seems aimed full steam ahead at stupidity. The only hacker who will want any part of it is one carrying a hatchet. Score: 2 / 10
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6/10
If you are just looking to kill some time and laugh, this one's for you
Ornlu Wolfjarl29 December 2013
Basically, a private school filled with rich twats and silly teachers disconnected from reality, is taken over by a computer genius and his armed thugs, as a part of a much bigger robbery heist. However, one of the school kids, who is also a computer genius and the social outcast, manages to evade capture and makes the lives of the bad guys a living hell. In other words, it's basically Home Alone, just taking place in a school and instead of mechanical contraptions you get computer gimmicks.

I caught this movie one lazy afternoon on TV, and despite its childish dialogues, unrealistic portrayal of computers and other miscellaneous things that characterize a bad movie, it still made me laugh and spend a pleasant 90 minutes. Don't expect much as far as acting goes, and it doesn't help that 90% of the cast is either a stereotypical unimaginative mercenary hired by the bad guy, or a stereotypical unimaginative student/teacher, with the addition of a few stereotypical unimaginative cops (and soldiers at one point). Patrick Stewards certainly does a good job as the bad guy, but he knows this film is not going anywhere and it shows. He's just there having fun.

The people who made this obviously had no idea what actual computers look like or how they work, or at least they made the assumption that the audience wouldn't know the difference, as is the norm for 80s and 90s movies (as well as plenty today). Particularly weird, is a scene at the beginning, where Oswald Paxton (the protagonist) is trying to pirate a game before its release and the security system of the company he's trying to hack into makes him play a racing mini-game, where he has to make it to the exit of a long corridor piled with skeletons coming out of closets, at which point he is granted access to the game files. "Oh brave hacker, pass the test and we shall see if you are worthy to pirate our game. Only the chosen one will distribute our game for free".

At any rate, its certainly enjoyable. The dialogue, although badly written, is actually quite funny and the gags are also. The plot also isn't that bad, as you aren't informed on what the bad guys are actually trying to steal, but you get pieces of information as the film progresses and is revealed at the end, which is something that kept my attention. Also, seeing Patrick Stewart as the bad guy was actually pretty fun, and you get plenty of action too. 6/10
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6/10
Vincent Kartheiser saves the day
robert-temple-118 December 2013
For those like myself who enjoy watching Vincent Kartheiser in MAD MEN (I have just seen Season Six), and think that his waspish character is amusing and chillingly endearing, this archaeological relic of the young Vincent is interesting. Despite his playing a teenaged computer hacker, it was already his seventh film. He is one of those 'boys with a computer in a bedroom' who has trouble with authority and resents his step-mother and step-sister. He has been banned from his expensive private school because of previous bad behaviour, and has now been condemned to attend 'public school' (in America that means the pits, unlike England where it means the most expensive and the word 'public' really means 'private'). But he is ordered to take his obnoxious and taunting younger sister to class in his old school, where they let him in the gates 'only for five minutes'. But the five minutes turns into a desperate adventure. A sleekly confident security expert, played with tremendous flair and bravado by Patrick Stewart, has just installed the new security system at the expensive private school. But he has a dastardly plan. He intends to hold ten children hostage because their fathers are billionaires. He demands $650 million in ransom money from the ten parents. He takes over the school with armed men and seals it off, blowing up police cars and so forth. Vincent is trapped inside, having just been on his way out. So Vincent wages guerrilla war against Stewart and his gang and tries to save the kids and the school. He hacks into their computers and security system, blows things up, electrocutes an armed thug (who mysteriously recovers, having been only incapacitated), floods the drains with the water from the swimming pool, and a entire catalogue of amazing feats. The film is sanitized to make the violence just playful enough to be acceptable to kids watching, and people somehow mysteriously don't really die even when they should. That is the opposite of 'dying for a cause', for here they 'don't die for a cause', namely a certification that can bring in the younger audiences. The film contains elements of comedy and is meant as mere entertainment, not as a grim tale. And in that it succeeds. It is worth watching just for Patrick Stewart's wonderfully comic and sophisticated portrayal of a vain villain struggling against Kartheiser, whom he calls deprecatingly 'Dennis the Menace', and who keeps thwarting Stewart's evil designs at every turn. Kartheiser himself maintains the same intensity that we enjoy so much in MAD MEN. I wonder if in private life he arranges everything he owns (though there seems to be little of that left, for they say he has given away all his possessions) in neat rows and screams in protest if anything is moved. He certainly is one of the more interesting actors of our time.
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8/10
A good movie - albeit a little familiar
ontario_gal4 December 2005
I just watched this movie for the first tune this afternoon - a cold windy blustery day - when the best thing one can do is stay in and watch a movie. I turned it on with no idea as to what the movie was about.

I very soon recognized the plot line as being almost identical to that of 1991s TOY Soldiers (staring Sean Astin and Wil Wheaton). An exclusive school is taken hostage by a band of terrorists - and along with it the children of the wealthy of the wealthy. Using the children as bargaining chips the bad guys hope to achieve a particular set of goals.

What the terrorists didn't count on however is that a group of misfit students who have never done anything worthwhile in their lives turn out to be more worthy opponents than the trained professionals who are attempting to free the hostages and negotiate with the terrorists.

All in all a good movie even if the plot was a bit tired - it did mirror one of my all time favorites!! 8 out of 10!!
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One to watch.
angelfan26022 June 2003
This film is very good vincent kartheiser plays a naughty teen whose a hacker and ends up getting caught by his dad and step mom for trying to hack a computer game before its realeased and his punishment is to take his step sister to school which he was expelled from as being really naughty. Then once he has dropped his sister off he starts to leave when these gunn men take over the school and basically ozzy (vincent) saves the day by catching one of the people trying to get 650 million of the parents of the hostages parents. I'm not going to say anymore so people that want to see this film may has a few suprises.But its definatly one to watch. (thats if you can find it as its deleted.)
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10/10
Masterminds is a very cool movie.
mais100009 September 2000
This young 14-years old rebbellious youth,ozzie paxton(Vincent Katheiser),is known to get into lots of troubles.This includes being expelled by clair maloney(Brenda Pricker),a principal of an up scale subarban private school,shady glen.He,s about to learn that his pranks and skills will come in handy when the shool's security consultant,Raif Bently(Patrick Stewart)takes control of the entire student body hostage. Oz engages in a battle of wit and cunning skills as he tries to outfox Bently and his goons.
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8/10
Light Entertaining Movie
elzbone24 November 2004
Like so many others have said, this movie is "Toy Soldiers" meets "Home Alone" The way Ozzie takes care of this group of terrorists is more slapstick than violent. (But don't get me wrong, it still has its share of violence.) I think in some ways the character Ozzie seems more like the Billy Tepper of the book "Toy Soldiers" than Sean Astin did.

It's a silly movie, and if you take it for that, a really good one. I enjoy this when I'm in the mood for action without the heart-pounding drama and blood. With the exception of Patrick Stewart, the cast is filled with then unknown actors. I've enjoyed Vincent Kartheiser in this, and everything I have seen him in since.
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what ever happened to originality?
slang-39 July 1999
in commenting on this film the only thing comes to mind is an old david spade bit...i like this movie the first time i saw it when it was called TOY SOLDIERS(1991)! for those of you who are unfamiliar with this 1991 flick, it's about this prep school where certain wealthy students are taken hostige by some man (with an accent) and held at gun point for ransom, but a rebelious teen plots to over turn the madman who has an extremely large arsenal. you may be thinking to your self...gee but isn't that the same plot as the 1997 movie MASTERMINDS. well at least that's what i thought after watching it! sure there are some differences but in the end this movie is lacking one very big thing...originality!
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4/10
Predictable.
adzman12 March 1999
Yes, the movie is predictable. You can read the plot like a book and expect what's coming up next. A recalcitrant trapped in the school (taken over by a bunch of supposedly professional missionaries led by Patrick Stewart's character) turned out to be the hero that saves the day. Hurray! Oh well, the movie probably appeal those who are really young and fantasies about being a hero. Unless you have nothing else to watch, go ahead and see this movie.
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Better than I thought, a few surprises
awfulg18 November 1998
This movie was really poorly marketed. It's actually more intelligent than it's given credit for. This is just a fun action movie with seriousness and hi-jinx. Don't totally

check your brain at the door. There's some interesting things to watch for in the movie, especially if you've seen another movie that was filmed in Vancouver...
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Die Hard for beginners
bob the moo16 October 2001
When I started watching this, I basically just had the TV on and I didn't know what it was about. After about 20 minutes you realise what it is - it's Die Hard in a School for teenagers! Kartheiser plays Bruce Willis' character with Patrick Stewart doing Alan Rickman duties. The film even has elements of the Die Hard movies - comic interplay over the radio, twisty escape plans, running down corridors and through ventilation shafts etc.

The only problem is that this is a kids movie - it's too basic for adults with too little tension or drama and it may even be a bit scary for young children. Which only leaves teenagers as it's audience. It's a shame, because this is not as bad as it sounds - it's reasonable undemanding fun. True, the action is not exactly what we've come to expect from an action movie - but for a kids version of Die Hard it's not bad!

Patrick Stewart is good as the bad guy and plays the whole thing with his tongue in his cheek - at one point in the film making his getaway wearing a Manchester United strip! The rest of the adult cast is ok (including well known faces such as Brenda Flicker and Whitford), but the weak link is unfortunately Kartheiser who, for most of the film plays it like a really annoying version of Malculy Culkin! It's unfortunate because it's hard to care about him when he's being a snotty arrogant teenager.

This won't satisfy many adults and will be too scary for kids (all the plot twists will be lost on them as well). But as a Die Hard for 12-15 year olds then this will satisfy most boys going through puberty.
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Enjoyable, simple movie. Nice to see Steward outside StarTrek.
skip2me13 March 2001
Basically the title of my post says it all. I kept postponing renting this movie because the cover design is simply awful IMO. But at the same time I was curious what Patrick Steward would be like if he wasn't wearing his Starfleet Uniform.

So when I finally DID rent it, I was surprised to find that it's actually quite a nice movie. True, it's simple, but I didn't mind spending half a buck to see it. It's great for on TV, and I agree with other posts that it's mainly a teens movie.

But seeing as I am not quite a teen anymore (24) and still enjoyed simply watching this one....

Well, I just thought that it's worth while to post my experience here.
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10/10
This is a movie for teens 13-15
David-12110 September 1998
This movie has been largely under rated because it doesn't appeal to the general audience, but it isn't aimed at the general audience; it is targeted at teens from 13-15. It allows teens from 13-15 to live out the teen rebellions that they don't have the courage to vent through the main character, Ozzie.
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