Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief) (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief) (1991)

Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

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, Rovimore
Rating: R (for some strong violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Woo, Clifton Ko
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 22, 2003
Rim Film Distributors

News & Interviews for Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)

Critic Reviews for Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Anyone who already owns The Killer and Hard-Boiled will undoubtedly still find much to enjoy within Once a Thief.

Full Review… | June 13, 2004

Fails to deliver the action goods that John Woo fans want, and his skill with a romantic plot is not very good.

Full Review… | June 22, 2003
Apollo Guide

July 14, 2005

January 12, 2004

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

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.

Al S

Super Reviewer


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.

Sean Lass

Super Reviewer

One of the classic John Woo/Chow Yu-Fat collaborations. A comedy action film with nice twists and much imitated action sequences.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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