In this box-office smash, Chow Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung and Cherie Chung play a trio of art thieves living life to the full in Paris. The threesome steal a valuable painting, but are double-crossed by their employer. In the ensuing shoot-out, Chow disappears presumed dead and Cheung barely escapes. The action moves to Hong Kong with Cheung and Chung now courting and their adoptive ‘father’ continuing to ask for their help in art-thefts. When Chow reappears in a wheelchair, the trio are re-united and begin to uncover their betrayers.
John Woo really surprised the audiences with this mixture of acrobatic gunplay action and comedy. However, any fears were unfounded as ‘Once A Thief’ is a splendid addition to John Woo’s filmography. Chow Yun Fat is at his most charismatic and he is well-complimented by Leslie Cheung and regular co-star Cherie Chung. The Paris locations that open the film also add a unique dimension to what is still a uniquely Hong Kong film. A class production in every department.