Monday, July 19, 2010

Chinese Movie: Once a Thief ( 縱橫四海 - 1991)

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I was quite thrilled to catch this movie on the rerun in the morning on Astro Wah Lai Toi the morning I was supposed to catch a flight.

I still remember this movie which was probably shown countless times on the tv when we were still kids, and I still find myself giggling over the antics of the three main characters; played by three of the most notable actors and actresses; mainly the Big Brother Chow Yun Fatt, the beautiful Cherie Chung and the late pop king Leslie Cheung.

The story revolves around the three of the main characters; who were trained to be thieves.

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Put Chai Kou (a type of Chinese cake), played by Chow Yun Fatt, Hung Tao (red bean), played by Cherie Chung and Jim (Leslie Cheung) were orphans when they were taken in to shelter by Kenneth Tsang whom they come to know as their fatherly figure.
At the same time, they were once caught in the act stealing bread from a confectionery by a policeman, Paul Chu, who softened and taking a liking to their kind-hearted intentions (they stole the bread to feed a poor homeless beggar woman), he became their foster father.

The trio grew up to be a syndicate, practising their skills in stealing and ending up wandering all over the world after each theft committed.
In one of the theft case they were assigned to, Put Chai Kou went missing and was believed to be dead in the explosion, leaving only Hung Tao and Jim to be on their own to start all over again.
The duo found romance on their own and were starting to pick up the pieces when Jim met Put Chai Kou again, who is now wheelbound.

Put Chai Kou revealed that their so-called father was behind the whole drama in the theft case and that he was the one who sent assassins after them.

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Jim and Put Chai Kou then teamed up to steal a priceless drawing (the initial drawing which almost got them killed) to extort their 'father', much to the dismay of their foster father.

However, they managed to cripple their father and left scot-free by their foster father to start their lives anew in the United States where Jim and Hung Tao got married and had three kids who was taken care of by Put Chai Kou.

It was hilarious and yet intriguing to see how deftly they commit each crime; mainly the famous and expensive paintings.
I also liked the pairing of Cherie and Leslie; compared to the initial pairing of Cherie and Chow Yun Fatt as the former was much better and had better chemistry.

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It was nice to see them all in their youth; Cherie in her stunning looks (I love that white dress she wore to the charity ball) and Chow Yun Fatt with his cheeky and mischievous glint in his eyes, and also the late Leslie in his charming and good boyish looks.

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There is also a special appearance of Wu Fung and Wu Tai Wai (one of the jokers and partner of Liu Wai Hung back then).
Oh, and also expect to see a very young Leila Tong playing Hung Tao in her childhood!

I love old dramas, and given the number of times I have watched this, I think I would still give it another shot if they show it on the tv again =)