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Once a Thief (1996)

TV Movie  -   -  Action | Crime | Thriller  -  29 September 1996 (Canada)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,308 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

Set in Hong Kong and Vancouver, the story follows Mac Ramsey and Li Ann Tsei, lovers and professional thieves who are separated while fleeing the powerful Hong Kong underworld crime lord ... See full summary »


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Title: Once a Thief (TV Movie 1996)

Once a Thief (TV Movie 1996) on IMDb 5.3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Godfather
Nathaniel DeVeaux ...
Greg Chan ...
Dance MC
Young Ryu ...
Li Ann's Dance Partner
Matthew Walker ...
Interpol Judge
Judge's Aide
Phillip Tsui ...
Mill Security Guard
Biker 1


Set in Hong Kong and Vancouver, the story follows Mac Ramsey and Li Ann Tsei, lovers and professional thieves who are separated while fleeing the powerful Hong Kong underworld crime lord who raised and trained them. After being imprisoned in Hong Kong, Mac is forcefully recruited into a clandestine international crime-fighting unit by a hard-nosed, menacing Director. He is teamed in Vancouver with Li Ann, who thought Mac was dead, and her new fiancé Victor Mansfield, an ex-cop who is attracted to the unorthodox methods of the agency. Conflict flares between Mac and Victor as the trio take on their assignment. They soon learn that their principal target is their foster brother Michael Tang, who had been given Li Ann as his future wife and who has vowed to hunt down the pair for their disloyalty to the "family". Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:



Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 September 1996 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

John Woo's Once a Thief  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mac: Oh tell me you're not the doctor.
The Director: Worse. I'm The Director.
See more »


Remake of Once a Thief (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Once a Thief , always a dud...
3 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

John Woo directs a TV drama about a couple of thieves (Ivan Sergei and Sandrine Holt) who escape to Canada after dishonoring their former boss in Hong Kong, however Sergei is caught by the cops and comes to Canada after his time only to find Holt and Lea in a relationship their soap opera antics must wait while assassin Michael Wong looks to do in our trio out of revenge for their disloyalty. Before Woo stunk up the multiplexes with Mission Impossible 2, Windtalkers and Paycheck. This and Blackjack were regarded as Woo's worst movies. Blackjack believe it or not has it's merits, it was plot heavy but it featured some good action and decent thesping in making for at least a tolerable movie. Once A Thief however is a sub-par take on Woo's own original and although I haven't seen it yet, one doubts it is as bad as this stinker. The main problem with this movie is just how much it feels like Melrose Place with two guns. It becomes so soap operish in it's moronic threads involving the three leads that I for one was hoping somebody would put a bullet in all three of them. Also it takes talent to be an action star, Chow Yun Fat, Jean-Claude Van Damme,John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Dolph Lundgren and even Christan Slater are far more credible than our teen leads which never convince us that they would do anything but crap their pants when the guns went off. Sergei in particular is a charisma-less lunkhead who seems to have wandered in from a stoner commercial. This is a very dull movie and the action sequences would be good had they not been botched beyond belief, Woo films no suspense and somehow the movie just keeps going for a ridiculous amount of time. This is for only die hard John Woo fans and only they will be disappointed by the awfulness here.

* out of 4-(Bad)

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