THIS FILM had potential – the beautiful setting of Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Salma Hayek and its subject matter. Unfortunately, however, it’s a dreary embarrassment for some talented actors who, for some reason, are indulging director Brett Ratner’s concept of what makes for a good film.
Rather than coming across as a film inspired by famous jewel heists, or heists of any other sort for that matter, it is a film totally inspired by other films of the same subject. Lacking originality and any true detail about people who live this kind of existence, the film is basically not very good and really rather boring.
Max (Brosnan) is a rich, daring, brilliant jewel thief, but he is reluctant to commit to marriage to his gorgeous co-conspirator, Lola (Hayek). When Lola gets upset because Max will not write his marriage vows, she packs a bag and walks out. Max must beg her forgiveness and plead with her, since she apparently is what makes his life worth living.
After a slam-bang opening, in which they wrest a priceless diamond and Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson), the FBI agent assigned to Max’s case, traps him in a limousine driven by remote control, After the Sunset never regains its momentum.
Before you know it, Max and Lola are living unhappily ever after in a tropical paradise, secure with a healthy amount of ill-gotten gains and relying on romance, cocktails and sea views to keep their lives interesting.
One day, as Max gazes out at the sunset from their perfect beach cottage, he is overwhelmed with an “is-that-all-there-is” feeling. Then, lo and behold, the third and last rare Napoleon diamond is on display on a yacht right within their grasp. Lloyd comes to Paradise Island certain Max will steal the diamond – he has a gun and he’s not afraid to use it.
Max is further prodded back into action by the local crime boss, Henry Moore (Don Cheadle), a Detroit gangster who has relocated to the Caribbean and enlists him as a partner in crime. Sadly, Cheadle is totally under-exploited in this film, with only a peripheral involvement in the plot.
Harrelson, an actor who has never shown he has an adrenaline shortage, lends After the Sunset what little life it stirs up. Like all his screen characters, Stan behaves like a wild-eyed maniac ready to explode at any moment. When he teams up with Sophie (Naomie Harris), the smoldering local constable, the chemistry that is missing in Brosnan’s and Hayek’s pairing fires up.
As Max and Stan’s tricky cat-and-mouse game develops, the audience begins to wish that the male stars’ roles had been reversed. Harrelson’s revved-up motor is the kind of machine that kicks itself into action and demands crazy challenges, while Brosnan’s is sedate and requires a lot of effort to make it start.