|After the Sunset (2004)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle
Director: Brett Ratner
Oscar season may be in full swing during the back end of every year, but that doesn’t mean that every film to hit theaters is solid gold - nor does it permit studio heads to slack off on other projects - and Brett Ratner’s (“Rush Hour”) latest comedy caper, “After the Sunset,” is the perfect example. Slipping into theaters as an advertisement powerhouse that hopes to win over a big audience during its first weekend, “After the Sunset” is a carelessly produced piece of crap. Neither an entertaining comedy nor a slick heist film, Ratner tries to cover too much ground in under 90-minutes and winds up with a humdrum story that revolves around four characters the audience cares nothing about.
Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek star as a jewel thief couple (Max and Lola) who have entered early retirement in the Caribbean after stealing one of the three Napoleon diamonds under the heavy guard of FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson). Stan, who has been insulted with personal and professional embarrassment since the last heist, shows up in the Caribbean seven years later to finally catch Max, informing him of the much-publicized diamond cruise ship set to arrive for display on the island. Confident that Max will be enticed into stealing the third and final Napoleon diamond, Stan joins forces with a local policewoman looking to nab a big-name bust for recognition. A notorious island gangster (Don Cheadle) doesn’t help Max resist the temptation to steal the gem when he offers to partner up with the jewel thief to further his plans of increasing the standard of living for the indigenous natives.
“After the Sunset” has the perfect setup, but it never delivers on the stimulating James Bond-like storyline that the trailer promises. Instead, the film utilizes Salma Hayek as more of a decoration than a character and inserts numerous meetings between Brosnan and Harrelson that are meant to be funny, but rarely are. While Hayek’s beautiful body definitely deserves its own movie in the near future, the random seduction scenes appear to be her character’s lone strength and only cause more chaos when connecting two important moments. Ratner also appears to be really pushing the overdone homoerotic joke between the two male characters, but whether they are rubbing suntan lotion on each other’s bodies or spending the night together in a hotel bed, though what is comparably worse is the seemingly short and nimble runtime (just over 90-minutes), which dragged by so slowly that a handful of viewers deemed it reasonable to fall asleep. We’ve all seen this plot before and it’s been done much better in nearly every case – including Brosnan’s own “Thomas Crown Affair” – so when will Hollywood finally throw in the towel and say “Enough is enough”?
The widescreen DVD release of “After the Sunset” leaves room for improvement upon the horrible theater experience that resulted from seeing this film. While the movie itself was minimally entertaining, the DVD offers an array of enjoyable special features, including a full-length audio commentary by director Brett Ratner. Also included on the single-disc release is a series of deleted/alternate scenes with optional director commentary, a blooper reel and two featurettes: the making-of documentary “Before, During and ‘After the Sunset’” and “Interview with a Jewel Thief.”