Once a Thief | EW.com

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Once a ThiefHong Kong director John Woo's work has always seemed tailored for the video market. His freeze-frames, wipes, tracking shots, and slo-mo multi-angle ...Once a ThiefAction/AdventureRHong Kong director John Woo's work has always seemed tailored for the video market. His freeze-frames, wipes, tracking shots, and slo-mo multi-angle ...1997-07-25

Once a Thief

Genre: Action/Adventure; Starring: Nicholas Lea, Michael Wong, Sandrine Holt, Ivan Sergei; MPAA Rating: R

Hong Kong director John Woo’s work has always seemed tailored for the video market. His freeze-frames, wipes, tracking shots, and slo-mo multi-angle setups turn throwaway popcorn actioners into a couch potato’s personal Grand Guignol. But in Once a Thief, unlike in his ingenious Face/Off, the plot twists only to accommodate intermittent thrills, the sanitized violence is humorless, and it’s hard to care about the assembly-line characters. Why would a gifted cinema shaman submit this bloodless hackwork for your disapproval? Opportunistic marketing: It’s a repackaged TV movie (remade from Woo’s 1991 Asian version) that aired on Fox last September. C-