Urban Cinefile
"Nuke `em, nuke the bastards! This doesn't work."  -Jan Epstein on Independence Day
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A DVD
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

A WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES_DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Wang Bo (Andy Lau) and Wang Li (Rene Liu) should have made the perfect Bonnie and Clyde: the former a seasoned con man and master pickpocket from Hong Kong, the latter a grifter femme fatale from Taiwan. The couple swindle their way across China, until one day -her biological clock ticking so loudly even we can hear it - Li decides to call it quits. It is at this crossroad in their lives and relationships that they run into the simple farm boy and carpenter Fu Gen (Baoqiang Wang) in the train station, an encounter that will change their lives and attitudes forever - after an eventful adventure on the train, where they run into a rival gang of thieves, led by Uncle Bill (Ge You). But naïve Gen believes he lives in a world without thieves.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This is a wonderful film, one of my favourites in the recent (and excellent) Chinese cinema catalogue. Ostensibly an action drama, the film is so rich and layered with observations about the human condition it is almost like a Kurosawa work. Andy Lau and Rene Liu are superb in a cleverly calibrated relationship that swings with drama. But it's the naïve peasant boy played by Baoqiang Wang who stirs our hearts the most with his vulnerable innocence.

The early sequences set up Wang Bo (Andy Lau) and Wang Li (Rene Liu) as a warring couple of thieves who know every trick in the con book. It's fun, but it would be limited if the script didn't quickly segue to the start of the real story, when they first pass Gen on the road; Gen is part of a procession of monks and the encounter is misleadingly slight.

Once the action begins and we learn that Gen is carrying his life's savings on his way to his village, the tensions and emotional drivers kick in.

Superbly staged sequences on board the train combine comedy, drama and action in one of the more satisfying genre films from this talented filmmaker.

Published January 10, 2008

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

A WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES_DVD (M)
(China/HK, 2004)

CAST: Andy Lau, Rene Liu, You Ge, Bingbing Li, Baoqiang Wang, Ka Tung Lam

DIRECTOR: Xiaogang Feng

SCRIPT: Xiaogang Feng

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Li Zhang

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rui Ah, Jun Li, Fengwu Liu, Wanjun Li

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017