Movies are just as mediocre After the Sunset

Nov. 17, 2004, midnight | By Kiran Bhat | 19 years, 5 months ago

Take James Bond, turn him into a conniving diamond thief, grow him a bit of stubble, add an awkward archenemy, throw in a few curvy divas, put them all in the Bahamas and you get After the Sunset, a mediocre flick that is at times entertaining, and at others, stone cold dreadful.

The first major fault of After the Sunset is the unbearably cheesy romance between the movie's two anti-heroes, genius jewel thief Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan of Bond fame) and his sexy consort, Lola Cirillo (Salma Hayek, Frida).

After the two retire to the Bahamas following the jewel heist that opens the movie, Burdett sets his sights on another diamond on display at a cruise docking off the island. Unfortunately, his desire to steal again triggers the same basic scene featuring the two lovers over and over again: Lola flaunts her assets while crying something in her thick Spanish accent about how they are retired. The suave, hairy-chested Max then comforts his girlfriend and partner-in-crime by presenting some mushy one-liner. They then proceed to suck face. Needless to say, Brosnan and Hayek have no on-screen chemistry.

The second problem is the utter lack of interesting background characters. Brosnan and Hayek are solid (in scenes not involving their romance) and Woody Harrelson (The Thin Red Line) does an admirable job as Stan Lloyd, the tormented FBI agent who Burdett has fooled for seven years. However, the remaining cast ranges from bad to terrible.

Other heist films such as Ocean's Eleven manage to keep audiences on their toes during often laborious planning stages by utilizing varieties of quirky and interesting characters. On the other hand, After the Sunset presents an array of stereotypical crime kingpins and beautiful policewomen.

Lloyd's Bahamian police partner Sophie (Naomie Harris, 28 Days Later) is nothing more than the classic woman cop stereotype who seeks to outshine her corrupt male bosses by playing fair and getting a big arrest. The secondary romance that develops between Lloyd and Sophie is even worse than the one between Lola and Max, and is capped by a very awkward and abrupt romp in a hotel suite.

American-business-tycoon-turned-Bahamian-crime-lord Henri Mooré (Don Cheadle, who was excellent in Ocean's Eleven, but awful in After the Sunset) is one of the most uninteresting characters in any movie, period. For the few moments he is on the screen, Mooré rambles aimlessly about how we will fix social inequality by making locals gamble (a stupid idea, no?). It's a wonder he became a crime boss in the first place.

However, all is not lost on the foolish love stories or lack of interesting characters. After the Sunset is salvaged by its truly entertaining action sequences and great humor. The odd relationship that develops between Max and Agent Lloyd provides for some rib cracking bouts of laughter. In addition, the opening jewel heist sets the bar for the rest of the movie very high, and while the in-between doesn't meet that standard, the ending definitely does. Max is infinitely cooler as a slick diamond thief than as some impassionate lover.

Still, After the Sunset mires in mediocrity. Part of the reason may be that the actors featured have turned in better performances elsewhere, as evidenced by Brosnan in any of his Bond movies, or Hayek in Frida and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

But the other, bigger reason the movie wasn't that good was the swath of uninteresting junk that inhabits the entire middle 50 minutes or so. Jewel heist movies are supposed to be eccentric, thrilling, and intelligent. After the Sunset shows flashes of all three, but in the end has none of them.

After the Sunset (100 minutes) is rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence and language.

Kiran Bhat. Kiran Bhat is a senior who loves the Washington Redskins, 24, Coldplay, Kanye West, Damien Rice, Outkast and Common (Sense). He aspires to be the next Sanjay Gupta. He will miraculously grow a Guptaesque telegenic face and sculpted body by the age of 30. In … More »

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