Have audiences tired of Bond? That would seem to be the case, given the less-than-expected grosses of "After the Sunset", the latest from director Brett Ratner. While not featuring the Bond character, "Sunset" nevertheless still features "007", "Thomas Crown Affair" and "Tailor of Panama" star Pierce Brosnan as a thief. The picture opens with master jewel thieves Max (Brosnan) and Lola (Hayek) trying to go for one more job - they make away with a major diamond score and manage to "kidnap" an agent (Woody Harrelson) in the process.
The two make their getaway and escape to an island paradise where the original plan is to retire and live out their days on a gorgeous beach somewhere. Unfortunately for Max, he can't take the simple life for very long and soon starts to plan another heist. The agent that found himself involved with his last heist (Harrelson) shows up again, noting that another big diamond will be making the rounds on a cruise ship that's headed their way. While the agent tries to catch Max in the act, the local gangster (Don Cheadle) wants to work with Max to grab the diamond. A local cop, Sophie (Naomie Harris) also gets involved with both the case and the agent.
"Sunset" feels like a film that was done during a vacation for the stars and actors, and it's just about as uncomplicated as that. There's not a great deal of twists or turns; it's just a cat-and-mouse movie that moves at a rather leisurely pace. Thankfully, the cast is generally pretty good. Brosnan isn't challenging himself in the slightest, but it's the kind of role that he does well. Hayek is generally good, as well, in an underwritten role. Harrelson and Cheadle offer fine supporting performances, too.
While the performances are pretty good, some of the stars lack chemistry, as Hayek and Brosnan are surprisingly chilly together, and Harrelson and Brosnan aren't too stellar together, either. Still, the pairings aren't a total loss, and neither is the movie. Despite the somewhat leisurely pacing at times (especially in the middle, where the movie sometimes feels like it's padding out the running time), the movie never totally drags. The film's locations and cinematography (courtesy of ace Dante Spinotti) are both beautiful, as well.
"After the Sunset" is one of those movies where I didn't find anything too major to like about the movie, nor did I find anything too unlikable about the flick. It went along fairly well and remained rather uneventful, but the cast gave enough of an effort to just hold my interest.
VIDEO: "After the Sunset" is presented by New Line in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Although not without a few concerns, this is generally an excellent transfer. Sharpness and detail are very fine throughout, with only a few minor moments of slight softness.
Slight edge enhancement was also present during a few scenes, but this wasn't a major problem, and neither were a couple of traces of pixelation. The print used was crisp and clear, with no specks, marks or other faults. Colors looked bright and well-defined, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The film is presented here in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's audio was fairly unambitious, as the surrounds weren't used for anything much aside from some ambience and a couple of effects here-and-there. The audio has a nice spread across the front speakers, however, and audio quality is good: score, dialogue and the limited amount of effects seemed crisp and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: Producer Beau Flynn, director Brett Ratner and editor Mark Helfrich offer an audio commentary for the film. The best extra, however, is "Before, During and After the Sunset", a "making of" documentary that lasts over an hour. The documentary doesn't really offer any interviews, it simply follows around the cast and crew throughout pre-production, production and post-production. The piece is generally funny and informative, as we see the cast and crew at work and occasionally joking around.
Next is a blooper reel that lasts 5 minutes, and is mildly funny. Next is the full interview with Ratner, Hayek, Brosnan and Harrelson from the "Charlie Rose Show". This is a fairly uneventful interview, as it's geared towards promoting the flick, not informing much about how it was made.
Next is an interview with Brett Ratner and jewel thief Bill Mason. The interview about the jobs that Mason has done lasts several minutes and is pretty interesting. After that is a set of visual effects comparisons - before-and-after shots with commentary from the film's editor. Finally, there's 15 minutes of deleted scenes (with or without commentary), including an alternate ending.
Rounding out the DVD are trailers and TV spots for the movie, as well as promos for other New Line titles and DVD-ROM features.
Final Thoughts: "After the Sunset" has all the elements together, but the film never really gets going quite to the level it should. It's basically entertaining, and should serve as a decent rental for those looking for a fairly lightweight (and maybe a little too lightweight for its own good at times) caper. The DVD edition provides very good audio/video quality and a lot of solid supplements.