More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.56

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look66.67%
Average: 22.22%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Lu Over the Wall by Jay Seaver

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by alejandroariera

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Peter Sobczynski

Justice League by Peter Sobczynski

Mumon: The Land of Stealth by Jay Seaver

Geek Girls by Jay Seaver

Fashionista by Jay Seaver

I Love You, Daddy by Rob Gonsalves

Jailbreak by Jay Seaver

Attraction (2017) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Once a Thief
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, Action, Comedy ...and... Romance?"
4 stars

Even the "weakest" of John Woo's Hong Kong productions contain a style and a spark that are all but non-existent in his late-career American flicks.

When you think of the frequent collaborations between action star Chow Yun-Fat and director John Woo (i.e. The Killer, Hard-Boiled, and A Better Tomorrow), your first thought would logically be of "high-end action mayhem of the coolest order" - and you'd be right. Those three movies alone (OK, please include A Better Tomorrow 2 on that list) have dazzled action fans the world over, and each has become known as a bona-fide Modern Action Classic.

But there's at least one Woo-Fat production that bypasses the hyper-kinetic action material (for the most part, anyway) in favor of a structure that instead feels a whole lot like a classic old Heist Comedy in the vein of The Pink Panther or The Italian Job. Toss in some great chases, a sweet little romance subplot and a trio of excellent lead performances, and you're looking at a John Woo flick that might not rank among his most chaotic, but is a perfectly entertaining diversion in its own right.

The plot sees a trio of lifelong pals (who have grown up to become a brilliant thieving team) who are enlisted for a near-impossible art heist and the myriad plot twists and double-crossings that synopsis implies. Since one of the 'gang' is a lovely lady, you can of course expect a few enjoyable complications relating to "Which guy will she end up with?"

Though Once a Thief clearly has other things on its mind besides wall-to-wall action, those who adore Woo's other films may find themselves shifting uncomfortably between the gunfights, but just like Die Hard is a whole lot different than, say, The Thomas Crown Affair - the focus here includes considerably more comedy and romance that you'd normally find in a John Woo / Chow Yun-Fat movie.

The action-heavy John Woo flicks are obviously the most celebrated among the filmmaker's many fans, but anyone who already owns "The Killer" and "Hard-Boiled" will undoubtedly still find much to enjoy within "Once a Thief".

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10099&reviewer=128
originally posted: 06/14/04 13:40:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/27/07 Sugarfoot This is the only HK movie that Woo has made that pales to his American work. 2 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Pretty weak 3 stars
6/15/04 y2mckay Some okay action, but often cheesy and stupid ending. Other Woo/Fat movies much better. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  14-Jan-2004 (R)
  DVD: 22-Apr-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Oct-1994


Directed by
  John Woo

Written by
  John Woo

Cast
  Chow Yun-Fat
  Leslie Cheung
  Kong Chu
  Cherie Chung
  Kenneth Tsang
  John Woo
  David Wu



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast