6.8/10
5,052
29 user 23 critic

Zong heng si hai (1991)

A romantic and action packed story of three best friends, a group of high end art thieves, who come into trouble when a love-triangle forms between them.

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4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Red Bean Puddin - Joe (as Chow Yun Fat)
... James - Jim
... Red Bean - Cheri
Kong Chu ... Chu - Dad
... Chow - Father
David Wu ... Auctioneer
... Mr. Cheung (as Wu Fung)
Pierre-Yves Burton ... Mr. Le Bond (as Pierre Yves Burton)
Declan Wong ... Magician Henchman (as Declan Michael Wong)
Patrick Hon ... Hitman
Yat Kwun Tang ... Young Red Bean Pudding - Young Joe
Ka Fai Tong ... Young James - Young Jim
... Young Red Bean - Young Cherie (as Lina Kong)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kin-Shing Choi ... Guard
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Storyline

Once a Thief is an action/comedy/romance movie involving the plight of three master thieves (in the mode of Pink Panther). All three were raised by the same father and in fact were most certainly street orphans. The story begins with a successful art heist followed by a pledge to make this the last crime ever for the trio. The plot revolves around the theft of a mysterious "cursed" painting and how its obsession affects the family. Written by <sysop@hal9k.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

art | thief | painting | gun fu | kung fu | See All (41) »

Taglines:

They only stop to reload.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

2 February 1991 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Once a Thief  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross USA:

HKD 33,397,149, 31 December 1991
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jay Chattaway's music from Red Scorpion (1988) is used in the film. See more »

Goofs

When Joe and Cherie are driving behind the truck, that is transporting the paintings (including their marked one), you can clearly see the rope holding the car of Joe and Cherie close to the truck during the stunt scene. See more »

Quotes

Red Bean: I want to live somewhere peaceful, that isn't at war.
Red Bean Pudding: Iraq? There's no war in Iraq. Or go to heaven, they have clean air!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Rémy Julienne: 50 ans de cascades (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty terrible
11 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

I don't have a lot of reverence for John Woo. I have next to no interest in gangster movies with lots of shooting. But I love kung fu movies. Unfortunately, John Woo hardly ever does any of those. Oh, the mature John Woo can certainly do action (as in Mission Impossible 2, the best of the lot), but most of his stuff strikes me as horribly dull. In Once A Thief, he attempts a light-hearted action-drama-comedy starring three orphans who are raised first as thieves and then apparently as cops, and then end up becoming thieves. Or something.

The movie is dull as dish-water. Featuring insufferable Hong Kong humor (dumb and malicious practical jokes which aren't funny to the ones they happen to, but apparently a barrel of laughs to a Hong Kong audience), and a terrible soundtrack (featuring accordions and such) which is apparently supposed to sound French.

Chow Yun Fat's acting is frankly horrid, and his character is a moronic bastard. He's the main reason that this movie is bordering on the unwatchable. (Not that he hasn't been good in other movies; he certainly has. Especially in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.)

I watched this movie because I'm a fan of the Once A Thief TV show (1997), which I love. It does everything right - both the comedy and the seriousness -, and happily has nothing whatsoever beyond the name and the fact that it's got three lead characters in it in common with the movie. The characters in the movie are not involved in an organized crime family like the ones in the TV show, and in the TV show they aren't even thieves (well, they were once, but...), so the title doesn't make sense, either, as anything but an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the movie, the wisdom of which is questionable to say the least.

Anyway, I'll spare you my bitterness over John Woo's general suckage and just express my gratitude that he has nothing whatsoever to do with the TV show, despite being credited as executive producer.

3 out of 10.


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