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Brett Ratner
Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn, Troy Garity, Mykelti Williamson, Obba Babatundé
Writing Credits:
Paul Zbyszewski (story, screenplay), Craig Rosenberg

Who will walk away?

Pierce Brosnan plays a master thief who, after an incredibly successful heist, moves to the Bahamas with his beautiful partner in crime. But the cat and mouse games begin again when and FBI agent, his old nemesis, returns convinced he is going for the biggest score of all, the famous Napoleon diamond.

Box Office:
$58 million.
Opening Weekend
$11.100 million on 2819 screens.
Domestic Gross
$28.328 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 1.0
Latin Spanish
Supplemnents Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 4/7/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director Brett Ratner, Producer Beau Flynn And Editor Mark Helfrich
• Deleted/Alternate Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Blooper Reel
• “Before, During and After the Sunset” Documentary
• “Interview with a Jewel Thief” Documentary
• Visual Effects Comparisons
Charlie Rose Show Interviews
• Trailer
• Blooper Reel
• Special Effects Comparison
• “Max and Lola Pretending to Make Love for Stan’s Bug” Alternate Take
• “A Practical Joke Ratner Played on Brosnan” Clip


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


After The Sunset [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 30, 2015)

Omit 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand and the three Rush Hour films from his filmography and director Brett Ratner can’t claim any real hits. Even 2014’s high-profile Hercules sputtered and failed to make a financial dent.

At the bottom of Ratner’s box office list resides 2004’s After the Sunset. That effort brought in a paltry $28 million and quickly vanished from both multiplexes and the public consciousness. No wonder Ratner quickly returned to the well with Rush Hour 3

I won’t cry over the commercial failure of Sunset, as the tepid caper fails to provide much reason to care about it. The FBI keeps an eye on noted jewel thief Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) as they transport a valuable diamond.

However, Max’s one step ahead of them and he institutes various high-tech methods and low-tech diversions to give the Feds the slip. In fact, Max makes his move with agent Stanley Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) still in the car, a kicker that makes the Fed all the more obsessed with the thief he’s been chasing for seven years.

Max and partner/lover Lola Cirillo (Salma Hayek) deal with Lloyd and then retire to the Caribbean to recuperate. This works great for a while, but eventually Max tires of the laidback lifestyle, partially due to all the inane married couples with whom they interact.

Max starts to miss the more dangerous life, though threats reappear when Lloyd shows up in his home. “The Napoleon Diamond” is on the way to the locale, and Lloyd suspects Max isn’t quite as retired as he claims.

Lola wants to stay on the sidelines, but Max seems tempted by the soon-to-arrive jewel. The rest of the film looks at his thoughts in this matter as well as Lloyd’s continued stakeout.

Didn’t we already see Brosnan as a jewel thief? No, wait - he was an art thief in The Thomas Crown Affair - I guess that’s totally different.

Whatever he steals, Brosnan can’t quite get away from the whole Bond thing. When he operates a remote control car early in the flick, it clearly hearkens back to Tomorrow Never Dies. Later we get an underwater sequence and a Junkanoo bit, both of which remind me of Thunderball. The parallels aren’t extreme, but Sunset doesn’t come across as a huge departure for Brosnan.

The actor does offer a nicely weary tone for Max, and that may be the best part of the flick. He relies less on his natural charm than usual, and he attempts to bring some emotional complexity to the role. At times I think Brosnan lets his facial stubble do the acting for him, as it occasionally feels like we’re supposed to see Max as older and tired just because he’s a little scruffy, but he still does pretty well in the part.

I guess the other actors offer decent work too, but a problem stems from the absolute lack of chemistry among the entire crew. Whether we look at Brosnan/Hayek, Brosnan/Harrelson, or Harrelson/Harris, there’s no spark to be found. The actors interact with little life or charisma, and that kills the movie. This kind of zippy semi-caper flick needs ignition, but that liveliness never occurs.

I put the blame on director Ratner, who seems like the wrong choice for this sort of film. Sunset needs someone with a light, deft touch, but Ratner fares better with broad slapstick comedy such as the Rush Hour movies. He can’t do subtlety, and the lack of nuance submerges the film.

In addition, Sunset becomes saddled with a really leaden script. Rather than become frisky and frothy, it stays boring and uncomplicated. It aspires to depth but never gets there, as it sticks with a turgid cat and mouse game that fails to go anywhere. I guess Max’s internal battle should add depth, but it doesn’t. Instead, the flick plods along toward its inevitable twists.

By the way, are twists really twists if we know they’re coming? I suppose, but this means they don’t come as a surprise. Perhaps we won’t be cognizant of exactly what the twists will be, but our assumption that they’ll arrive eventually makes them less effective.

Maybe After the Sunset never had much of a chance to succeed, though I think its tale of a thief who attempts to go straight boasted some potential. Unfortunately, the flick fails to explore its notions in a satisfying manner, and it also lacks the peppiness to make it a winning confection such as How to Steal a Million. It winds up as a forgettable effort.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus A-

After the Sunset appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a pleasing presentation.

Sharpness seemed good. The movie usually appeared crisp and well-defined, with only a few minor instances of softness in a few wide shots. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no issues, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie lacked any form of print flaws.

Given the tropical setting, the movie used a vivid palette, and the disc replicated those tones well. The film tended to highlight some orange and teal, but the colors still came across as peppy. Black levels also appeared deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately dense but not overly opaque. The picture of Sunset looked strong and just narrowly fell short of “A” levels.

While the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked consistent ambition, it worked fine for the material. The movie usually stayed with a relatively low-key presentation, but it kicked into somewhat higher gear when necessary.

Some of the elements around the island brought nice dimensionality to the affair, and the pieces were accurately placed and nicely melded. Music showed strong stereo imaging as well, and the surrounds added a good feel to the proceedings.

A few louder scenes like chases contributed the best information from the rear, but the movie usually stayed with general ambience. I liked the involving nature of the music heard during a big parade, and the underwater bits also formed a good soundscape. The whole mix seemed satisfying.

Audio quality was positive. Speech always sounded natural and distinctive, and I noticed no signs of edginess or issues with intelligibility. Effects demonstrated good accuracy and clarity. Those elements packed the appropriate punch in more active sequences, and they consistently lacked distortion or other concerns.

Music was lush and vibrant as well, and the entire package showed a nice sense of depth and vivacity. Only the slightly restricted scope of the track kept it at “B” level, but it was a more than satisfactory piece of work.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was richer and more dynamic, while visuals seemed tighter, smoother and more film-like. This became a nice step up in quality.

Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we launch with an audio commentary from director Brett Ratner, producer Beau Flynn and editor Mark Helfrich. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover the basics but don’t make this a better than average piece.

We get the usual notes about locations, sets, cast, score, story issues, visual effects and the movie’s look, deleted scenes, reshoots, and editing. Some of the more interesting moments connect to Woody Harrelson’s quirks; for instance, he won’t wear anything not made of hemp, and he almost attacked Ratner after a disagreement. A little bickering also pops up among the participants in the track, and those instances bring occasional life to the piece.

Unfortunately, an awful lot of bland praise pops up throughout the track, as those involved - especially Ratner - seem totally enamored by their film. This makes the commentary drag, and since the information provided usually seems pedestrian, the discussion usually remains lackluster.

At least the participants acknowledge this tendency; at one point, Ratner makes a crude remark about it. The commentary seems informative enough but not much better than that.

15 Deleted/Alternate Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes and 48 seconds. As you can tell from that running time, we don’t find much of substance here. Mostly we see reshoots or extended versions of existing bits. The most interesting clips come from the alternate endings - including a wedding scene - as well as one that shows Max scamming a tennis pro.

The scenes can be watched with or without commentary from Ratner, Flynn and Helfrich. They tell us a little about the shooting of the clips and usually let us know why the segments didn’t make the film. The commentary offers enough good information to merit a listen.

For more cut footage, we head to the four-minute and 51-second Blooper Reel. As usual, mostly we see goofs and silliness. However, a couple of alternate scenes and pranks appear, and we also see some interesting unused tidbits. It’s a better than average package.

Next comes a documentary called Before, During and After the Sunset. The one-hour, 10-minute and 23-second program consists almost entirely of behind the scenes video footage. It follows the production from location scouts, casting sessions, wardrobe/makeup tests, building sets, shooting the flick and various problems like an illness that affects Ratner, working with the actors, stunts, practical effects, filming the basketball sequences, special makeup, reshoots, and the premiere. No proper interviews occur, though we hear some occasional impromptu remarks from folks on the set.

Ratner clearly has a healthy ego, so this program focuses mostly on his actions. However, that works out just fine, as it allows us to see a little of everything that happened on the set. We get a fairly blunt look at the proceedings, which means the occasional dispute.

I like the bit where Ratner argues with Harrelson about his mustache, and many other memorable moments occur. Where else will you see a whiny Hayek gripe that she has to see too much of Ratner’s “crack”? I love these “fly on the wall” programs, and “Before” ends up as a lively and entertaining glimpse at the shoot.

Briefly excerpted in the prior documentary, we get the full 18-minute and 25-second Charlie Rose Show Interview. This includes remarks from Ratner, Brosnan, Hayek and Harrelson. They discuss how the actors and Ratner came onto the project, their interactions with each other, the appeal of this kind of film and its plot, the characters, and their upcoming efforts.

Rose often conducts quality interviews, but this isn’t one of them. The chat does little more than tout the flick with fluffy comments, so don’t expect to learn much from it.

For the next featurette, we find the eight-minute and eight-second Interview with a Jewel Thief. Conducted by Ratner, the chat presents information from author/former crook Bill Mason. He discusses how he became a felon, his methods, his various escapades, and his attitudes toward the work. It’s an interesting little conversation that whets one’s appetite to learn more.

Special Effects Comparisons go for three minutes and 18 seconds. We see a mix of shots in before and after configurations along with narration from editor Helfrich. He lets us know about the flick’s 150 visual effects shots as we see the changes.

This area presents a nice illustration of the essentially hidden methods used to touch up the image. Honestly, it’s sometimes more fun to see this kind of stuff than it is to learn about more obvious effects like those in the Lord of the Rings flicks; that stuff’s great, but it’s fascinating to learn about the much less obvious pieces.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, we get Max and Lola Pretending to Make Love for Stan’s Bug. This one-minute, 25-second clip shows Max and Lola acting out the fake sex that Lloyd hears via his bug. It’s a neat alternate take.

Finally, A Practical Joke Ratner Played on Brosnan goes for 44 seconds. As expected, the clip shows a prank Ratner played on Brosnan. It’s funny, but you’ve already seen it if you watched “Before”.

With a successful director and a roster of reasonably strong actors behind it, After the Sunset could have become a lively and engaging little romp. Unfortunately, it can’t balance its various attempts at lightness and drama, and these make it a dull, tedious effort. The Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio as well as a nice set of bonus materials. I don’t care for the movie, but this becomes a quality release.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of AFTER THE SUNSET

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