Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief) (1991)
For this 1991 action comedy from Hong Kong, director John Woo took a break from his ultraviolent thrillers; it was made a year after Bullet in the Head, and a year before Hard-Boiled. Chow Yun-Fat, Leslie Cheung, and Cherie Chung portray a trio of orphans who have grown to become art thieves. When their foster father (Kenneth Tsang), a powerful crime boss, forces them into stealing a painting, they pull off the job but are double-crossed. To get even, the trio plans a heist to steal the painting back. The three lead characters are funny and romantic; they're daring art thieves in the tradition of "The Cat" from To Catch a Thief or The Pink Panther, and the film evokes the same cosmopolitan feel. Once a Thief is far less bloody than Woo's gangster pictures, but in this film, the burglary sequences possess all the astounding grace of his other films' gunfights. ~ Jonathan E. Laxamana, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)
Anyone who already owns The Killer and Hard-Boiled will undoubtedly still find much to enjoy within Once a Thief.
Fails to deliver the action goods that John Woo fans want, and his skill with a romantic plot is not very good.
Audience Reviews for Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)
A classic good time at the movies. An outrageous, stylish and exhilarating action-packed comedy. It's full of smarts, suspense. gun-play and big laughs. A wonderfully entertaining and dazzling heist picture that just a real joy to watch. Director, John Woo and Star, Chow Yun-Fat always deliver the goods and this one delivers just as much fun and thrills as it does heart.More
Some of the goofier comedic elements didn't work for me, but there are still some very enjoyable sequences. Its Woo's weakest HK film that I've seen, but its still better than Hard Target.More
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