Synopsis by Jonathan E. Laxamana
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.
orphan, art-theft, double-cross, painting, gangster, art