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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Hong Kong Action Classic
'Once a Thief' is a Hong Kong action-comedy film, which was released in 1991 to widespread critical acclaim and box-office success.

The movie tells the story of three best-friends (Chow-Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung & Cheri Chung) who are orphans and specialize in stealing paintings via high-tech methods.

At the time of its release the movie was a departure...
Published on 20 Nov. 2009 by Mitun

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars A Thief To Many
This film featuring Chow Yun Fat is a John Woo production in my view in name only. It is based on a daring heist but lacks the charm and drama of "Crown Heights Affair" , the problem is the too many cooks. Woo tried to put too much into what is a gendre
and what is a basically a crime caper movie. It is like slicing a banana over and over again...
Published 4 months ago by Blade


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Hong Kong Action Classic, 20 Nov. 2009
By 
Mitun (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once A Thief [DVD] (DVD)
'Once a Thief' is a Hong Kong action-comedy film, which was released in 1991 to widespread critical acclaim and box-office success.

The movie tells the story of three best-friends (Chow-Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung & Cheri Chung) who are orphans and specialize in stealing paintings via high-tech methods.

At the time of its release the movie was a departure of some sorts from John Woo's (Director) other features, which consisted of the violent Hong Kong action classics, A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2, The Killer, Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled. All these movies were gritty, full of bloodshed and high in emotions. As a result these movies have been classed as some of the greatest Hong Kong entertainers ever. 'Once a Thief' in the other hand is an excellent light-hearted action comedy with a lesser dosage of violence.

The movie contains the following essential elements, action, comedy, friendship, romance, emotions and more action. The movie only gets better with a number of exciting twists. As a result the movie succeeds in becoming an out-and-out entertainer, which should appeal to everyone.

The lead actors are a treat to watch. Chow-Yun Fat is brilliantly charming and funny (sometimes over the top in comic scenes without being irratating). The now deceased Leslie Cheung is cool and composed as ever and supports Chow-Yun Fat perfectly. The lead actress Cheri Chung is elegant, but is drowned out by show-stealers, Chow-Yun Fat & Leslie Cheung.

The direction provided by John Woo is top-notch as he skillfully manages to combine stylized action with comedy to produce pure entertainment. Some of the heist scenes are clearly ahead of their time and have inspired numerous Hollywood movies. Also of note is the SUPERB chemistry between Woo and Fat, which is shown on screen. Both have made five action movies together, which are regarded as the BEST OF THE BEST when it comes to stylized action.

The picture and sound quality of the DVD is first-class. The commentary by Bey Logan (East Asian Cinema Expert) is insightful and a treat to listen.

'Once a Thief' is a classic of its era that should be witnessed. Guaranteed it'll instantly become a favourite of Hong Kong action movie lovers.

COOL 1ST RATE FLICK!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Hong Kong Action Classic, 20 Nov. 2009
By 
Mitun (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once A Thief [DVD] (DVD)
'Once a Thief' is a Hong Kong action-comedy film, which was released in 1991 to widespread critical acclaim and box-office success.

The movie tells the story of three best-friends (Chow-Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung & Cheri Chung) who are orphans and specialize in stealing paintings via high-tech methods.

At the time of its release the movie was a departure of some sorts from John Woo's (Director) other features, which consisted of the violent Hong Kong action classics, A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2, The Killer, Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled. All these movies were gritty, full of bloodshed and high in emotions. As a result these movies have been classed as some of the greatest Hong Kong entertainers ever. 'Once a Thief' in the other hand is an excellent light-hearted action comedy with a lesser dosage of violence.

The movie contains the following essential elements, action, comedy, friendship, romance, emotions and more action. As a result the movie succeeds in becoming an out-and-out entertainer, which should appeal to everyone.

The lead actors are a treat to watch. Chow-Yun Fat is brilliantly charming and funny (sometimes over the top in comic scenes without being irratating). The now deceased Leslie Cheung is cool as ever and supports Chow-Yun Fat perfectly. The lead actress Cheri Chung is elegant, but is drowned out by show-stealers, Chow-Yun Fat & Leslie Cheung.

The direction provided by John Woo is top-notch as he skillfully manages to combine stylized action with comedy to produce pure entertainment. Some of the heist scenes are clearly ahead of their time and have inspired numerous Hollywood movies. Also of note is the SUPERB chemistry between Woo and Fat, which is shown on screen. Both have made five action movies together, which are regarded as the BEST OF THE BEST when it comes to action.

'Once a Thief' is a classic of its era that should be witnessed. Guaranteed it'll instantly become a favourite of Hong Kong action movie lovers.

COOL 1ST RATE FLICK!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of John Woo's most enjoyable films by far, 7 Feb. 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Once A Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Despite his reputation, John Woo has probably made more bad films than any other major director - and that was before he went Stateside. Once a Thief has one of the worst reputations of his Hong Kong films, yet surprisingly it turns out to be a lot of fun. Made as a reaction to the box-office and critical failure of his ambitious but sadly painfully bad Bullet in the Head, it does tend to support the argument that he's a bit of a lightweight best suited to entertaining fluff - not that there's anything wrong with that when the fluff is as entertaining as this. Sure, Chow Yun Fat goes wildly OTT and there's not much in the way of plot, but the setpiece robberies (one of them involving wine glasses and infra-red alarms was clearly an inspiration for Entrapment) are fun and the action well handled. And where else could you see Chow Yun Fat ballroom dancing in a wheelchair?
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Thief To Many, 12 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Once A Thief [DVD] (DVD)
This film featuring Chow Yun Fat is a John Woo production in my view in name only. It is based on a daring heist but lacks the charm and drama of "Crown Heights Affair" , the problem is the too many cooks. Woo tried to put too much into what is a gendre
and what is a basically a crime caper movie. It is like slicing a banana over and over again until it is so thin there is not taste or flavour left. And sadly this is the problem, Woo has tired to make the film into a drama, a action crime movie, a comedy, a thriller and finally a love story. It was too much and too thin, and sadly it could not work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars mix, 28 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Once A Thief [DVD] (DVD)
a good film mix between a serious film and a comedy, nothing new about the storyline its all been done before
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly blended violence and humour as only John Woo can, 15 Mar. 2000
By 
mb18@soton.ac.uk (Southampton, England) - See all my reviews
The 'heros' of the story are three art thieves, two male & one female. The film follows their exploits including several very imaginative thefts. The plot is interesting, the characters very real and the violence very John Woo although this was made in the days when one gun at a time was enough! Chow Yun-Yat is as ever superb making this film a definite must....
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Once A Thief [DVD]
Once A Thief [DVD] by John Woo (DVD - 2005)
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