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After The Sunset /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris

Directed by: Brett Ratner

Produced by: Beau Flynn, Jay Stern, Neil A. Machlis
Written by: Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg
Distributor: New Line Cinema

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Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek in New Line Cinema's After the Sunset
Woody Harrelson and Pierce Brosnan in New Line Cinema's After the Sunset
Don Cheadle and Noemie Lenoir in New Line Cinema's After the Sunset

     In Brett Ratnerís After the Sunset, Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek team up as Max Burdett and Lola Cirillo, a romantically involved duo of jewel thieves who fool even the best of FBI agents, in their robberies. The movie opens to their last diamond heist, together, in which they lure Officer Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) into a trap, and escape with their second Napoleon diamond, in a set of three. Shortly thereafter, they hop a plane to the Bahamas and settle into their gigantic new home. This marks the end of their careers in crime. Then and there, a cruise-liner carrying the third and last diamond in the Napoleon set docks itself into town, and this serves as a legitimate reason for Agent Lloyd to fly down and keep a watchful eye on Max and Lola, just in case they are tempted to complete their collection. He has his own motives and they have theirs, and the picture ends in a twist.

     The movie is unbelievably average in almost every sense. Ratner clearly thinks he has made all the right moves when, in fact, none of them are all that smart. But, I suppose he cannot be faulted for having confidence in his methods. Unfortunately, when the movie is over, viewers will undoubtedly see him in a pathetic light. Having After the Sunset on oneís resume is nothing to be proud of, let alone boast about.

     The largest of After the Sunsetís numerous problems is that it takes its audience for a bunch of complete idiots. Viewers will see each turn that the plot takes a mile ahead of time; itís so predictable, itís shocking. Peculiarly, this is entirely Ratnerís fault. Paul Zbyszewski and Craig Rosenbergís screenplay is noticeably clever, but their director has done nothing to conceal the twists in the writing, narratively. If After the Sunset was a novel, all of the passages in it which contained foreshadowing would be highlighted in bright colors. Ratnerís execution is devoid of any skill, outside of the suave craftsmanship of the many action and caper sequences.

     Thievery only makes for about half of After the Sunsetís content. Much of it is dedicated to the romance between Max and Lola, as well as a budding relationship that Agent Lloyd and native-islander Sophie (Naomie Harris) share. Of course, the material is void of any emotion, whatsoever, so the attention drifts away from any actual love and shifts to sex. Salma Hayekís beautiful body, in particular, is focused on. (However, Pierce Brosnan does show his fair share of skin, too). Iím certainly not complaining about Hayek dressing skimpily and frolicking around for the entire running length; she is very attractive. However, it would be hard for me to say that After the Sunset ever comes close to being arousing, in the least; the market-friendly PG-13 rating limits it, in this area. Iím sure that there will be a spiced-up Unrated Directorís Cut released on DVD, though. It might be worth my time, but my hopes for it are not high.

     Before this movie, I had quite a bit of respect for Ratner. Two of his previous projects, Rush Hour (despite its truly awful sequel) and Red Dragon, were both very good films. For whatever fan-base he may have, this film will serve as a downright letdown. Not to mention, the likable Brosnan and Hayek deserve far better than this. The same could be said for Harrelson and co-star Don Cheadle, but their work is so downright awful here, it is hard to forgive them for it. I was never really in pain when watching After the Sunset; it is strictly a mediocre movie without an ounce of inspiration in its 100 minute duration. As a result, it is prevented from ever being overwhelmingly terrible. But, the fact that it doesnít try to be anything more than average is endlessly depressing. No moviegoer deserves to be exposed to such a grave lack of ambition.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (11.23.2004)


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