After the Sunset

January 20th, 2005 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Directed By Brett Ratner

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Woody Harrelson, Salma Hayek, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn, Mkelti Williamson.

An exotic island location, a high stakes game of cat and mouse and Pierce Brosnan? But for his scruffy look and monogamist sensibility, you’d think you’d stumbled into the latest James Bond movie.

But no, it’s only Brett Red Dragon/Rush Hour Ratner’s fun time, feelgood heist thriller.

Brosnan is career jewel thief Max who lifts a priceless stone from hapless FBI agent Stanley (Harrelson, after a long absence from the screen) in a high tech hijacking together with his hot tamale girlfriend Lola (Hayek).

The duo retires to the Bahamas, but Stanley isn’t going to let them go that easy. Years later, he trails them to their island paradise and starts hanging around, asking questions and trying to get Max to slip up — particularly as there’s a cruise ship docking for a week carrying the last remaining diamond in the set he’d love to complete.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a jewel heist movie. The narrative isn’t particularly strong, and Ratner is happy for it to go off into comic and at times slapstick territory, but you’re never sure who’s going to do what and why, which along with the bronzed location and sun drenched mood, keeps you interested from one scene to the next.

Stanley teams up with local cop Sophie (Harris) to try and nail Max and Lola this time around, but they seem to stay one step ahead every step — or do they? The foursome even strikes up something of a strange friendship as they try to carry out their lives in peace on their picturesque island.

Max looks as though he won’t be able to resist, and not even the wishes of his delectably curved partner (curves to which we’re repeatedly treated with relish) seem to be talking him out of it. Now, we might believe it of someone as cool as Pierce Brosnan, but the notion of most men doing something to risk losing the amourous affections of Salma Hayek is pure fantasy.

Throw in the subplot of local gangster Don (Cheadle) trying to get Max to lift the diamond for him and there are enough elements to hang a 90-minute story onto just comfortably, and to ensure the audience has a great time too.

Brosnan is smooth as silk as usual, but with a slightly dirty-fingernailed edge James Bond wouldn’t be caught dead cultivating. Eye candy Hayek gives the role her all, but nobody will be watching her acting abilities much anyway.

Harrelson as Stanley is a little confusing — the script has him play the bumbling keystone kop when necessary, but treats him seriously as we see his obvious talents as a detective just minutes later.

It’s like the candy house pink hotel in the movie — a little bright & spoiled and a little too glitzy to be the neat little film it could have been, but fun to look at.

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