After the Sunset (2004)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris
Directed By: Brett Ratner
I watched this one a few weeks ago on Movie Central HD. It’s not the sort of film I’d normally seek out to watch, but for free? Why not. Plus, I’d been watching a lot of dour flicks that failed to impress me, so I figured I’d give something flashy and populist a shot, in the hopes that it would entertain me, if not impress me.
Judging it from that standard, I’d say it did its job… with qualifications. Directed by faux-teur Brett Ratner, After the Sunset is a slick, fast-paced heist flick shot at the gorgeous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. It is certainly a pretty good looking film, if not particularly innovative.
The plotting and staging of the flick are pretty pedestrian, but push the right buttons for fans of the genre. Pierce Brosnan is the dazzling thief, Salma Hayek is his sexy partner, and Woody Harrelson is the meddling lawman determined to bring them down. The chemistry between the actors is solid, and Hayek is as gorgeous as she’s ever been. Honestly, the scenes with her in bathing suits and lingerie are reason enough to watch the movie.
In many ways, the movie play’s like a poor man’s version of the phenomenal heist flick Out of Sight. Brosnan is a poor man’s George Clooney, Hayek is an improved Jennifer Lopez (at least in terms of looks, but not really in terms of character or performance, but that’s where the storytelling comes in), Harrelson’s character is an extended version of Michael Keaton‘s cameo, Don Cheadle is, well, Don Cheadle, and Ratner is a hobo-version of Steven Soderbergh.
Sadly, the energy that sustains the movie’s first half, making you look past its flaws and enjoy the ride, starts to wear off as the film progresses. Ratner’s hackery starts to show when he takes the early comedic cat-and-mouse chemistry between Brosnan and Harrelson, and go too far for laughs. It takes the slick sheen off the relationship and movie, and devolves the characters into comedic characters, almost cartoon-like in their presentation. It’s as though they were shooting a action/suspense movie, then decided to change it into a buddy flick. They try to switch gears in the end back to the suspense, but by then, the atmosphere is broken and the movie never quite recovers.
In the end, it’s a fun diversion, but trips over itself and diminishes what was shaping up to be a pleasant surprise. If you come across in a similar fashion that I did, and have the time, then you should get a decent enough 97 minutes of entertainment. But I certainly don’t recommend you seek it out, unless I had you at “the scenes with her in bathing suits and lingerie are reason enough to watch the movie”.