After the Sunset Blu-ray Review
Seriously. How did I not hear about this movie? It has Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, and Woody Harrelson in the lead roles and it also has a supporting cast that includes Don Cheadle, Jeff Garlin, Kate Walsh, and a few random retired Los Angeles Lakers thrown in for good measure. AFTER THE SUNSET is by no means a stellar movie, but it has a cast that surely would have packed the seats, right? Some online sleuthing shows that this movie was barely profitable, if not at all if you were to factor in advertising costs.
AFTER THE SUNSET is everything you’d expect everyone wants from a Hollywood blockbuster, sexy, exotic and lush landscapes for them to roam in, and a twist of mystery, action, and humor. Now that’s a cocktail for success. Max (Brosnan) is the unofficial, world’s greatest jewel thief. His partner in crime, and lover, is Lola (Hayek). Despite the real life 13 year age difference, the on-screen chemistry between the two is surprisingly believable. Chalk it up to two veterans of the screen who can perfectly bounce their personalities off of each other.
Enter Stan (Harrelson), a special agent with the FBI who’s in charge of guarding a Napoleon diamond. This isn’t the first time he’s been tasked with guarding a rare Napoleon diamond. There’s three in the world and the first time he was in charge of one…well…you guessed it…it was stolen by none other than Max. So after Max strikes again, we cut to half a year later with Max and Lola in retirement. They lie on the beach, eat rich and scrumptious seafood, all the while Lola seems content with a life of luxury. Max on the other hand, can’t quite get rid of the cat burglar itch.
Luckily for Max, Stan enters the picture once again, and this time he’s guarding the final Napoleon diamond. Couple this with a crime kingpin seeking to hire Max for the heist and the FBI believing that they may finally lure Max into a trap, you have a comical heist movie with plenty of moving pieces that keep a consistent, and never dull, pace. AFTER THE SUNSET seems like a generous piece of escapism.
It’s not going to win any originality awards though. It’s a hodgepodge of heist movies that have come before it, but such a narrow genre doesn’t have a lot of room to grow or expand. So I won’t fault it too much because AFTER THE SUNSET requires a fairly high level of disbelief. But when one of your characters is in charge of protecting three of the world’s rarest diamonds and manages to screw it up each time, it’s understandable.
The more I think about, the more I have to reflect back to my original query at the beginning of this review. AFTER THE SUNSET is obvious popcorn entertainment, but it didn’t seem to find an audience when it was released back in 2004. When this movie was released, theatergoers were probably ready for more James Bond, at least when Brosnan was Bond. I equate it to a few years ago when Daniel Craig starred in COWBOYS AND ALIENS. While we love the actor, when you’re playing Bond in the current state of time, you’re Bond, we’re not going to want to see you in anything else. There is no substitute. AFTER THE SUNSET appears to be a well-made concoction that we couldn’t quite appreciate at the time because we were thirsty for something else. Now that this is on blu-ray, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the well and give it one more try.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The blu-ray brings out the beautiful settings and really makes it seem like a contemporary movie that was released just this past year. The picture comes in crystal clear.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The mixing on this is up to par with other presentations that have created an equal, yet outstanding balance of audio.
Commentary with Director Brett Ratner, Producer Beau Flynn and Editor Mark Helfrich: This is a commentary that focuses more on the technical aspects with Ratner doing a lot of the talking.
Before, During and After the Sunset (1:10:23): This is like a documentary version of an in-depth piece. It starts off with a CHARLIE ROSE SHOW interview, fast forwards to pre-production, then to shooting, and ends with the film’s premieres in L.A. and New York. It’s interesting, but a little lengthy, considering it feels like I’m watching another movie.
Interview with a Jewel Thief (8:08): This is an interesting interview with Bill Mason. He’s a former jewel thief and has penned his own book about his life as cat burglar. The interview is done by Ratner.
THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW with Brett Ratner, Salma Hayek, Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson (18:25): This is the only time I’ve ever watched the CHARLIE ROSE SHOW and it’ll probably be the last time. It’s not a very exciting interview and doesn’t offer too much in the way of compelling content.
Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentary with Brett Ratner, Beau Flynn and Mark Helfrich) (16:48): You cannot pick and choose what scenes you want to watch and instead have to watch as one giant lump. The only interesting thing about this is the alternate endings.
Blooper Reel (4:51): Like most blooper reels, it’s the cast and crew having a bit of fun and you can really pick up on camaraderie.
Special Effects Comparison (3:18): This takes a look at how special effects are used to enhance or alter specific shots. It’s an interesting technical piece that’s narrated by the editor, Mark Helfrich.
Max and Lola Pretending to Make Love for Stan’s Bug (1:25): There’s a scene in the movie where they mess with Stan. This is the unedited look at what Max and Lola are doing throughout the entire conversational piece.
A Practical Joke Ratner Played on Brosnan (0:44): This shows a prank that Brett Ratner pulled on Pierce Brosnan, but he explains the prank in a voiceover.