Movie Remake of Once a Thief in the Works with Huang Xiaoming, Michelle Chen, and Kim Soo Hyun

Ugh, so much NO I don’t even know where to start. I’ll begin by saying my yearly “I miss you” to the much too talented for this world and dearly departed Leslie Cheung on the recent 11th anniversary of his passing. Because I still miss him so much, it feels like such a crock of bullshit to hear that HK is readying for a remake of Once A Thief (縱橫四海), the 1991 Hong Kong crime caper movie starring the triumvirate of Hong Kong’s three biggest movie stars of that era – Chow Yun Fat, Cherie Chung, and Leslie. Chow Yun Fat has graduated to the elder statesman roles now and is doing a bang up job of it, but Once of Thief was when he was still in his leading man prime and firing on all cylinders in teasing every ounce of charisma and chemistry onscreen. Cherie Chung is arguably THE most famous Hong Kong movie actress of the 1980s and Once a Thief was actually her swan song last movie before she retired from a ten-year acting career to marry and live in obscurity. The remake being discussed is currently courting Huang Xiaoming, Michelle Chen, and Kim Soo Hyun to form the thieving trio of best friends.

It will make a rare collaborative effort from China, Taiwan, and Korea, and is clearly cast to hit all the major markets. It’s past annoying and gone into ridiculous that the whole “Michelle Chen the goddess” media play from the You Are the Apple of My Eye days still hasn’t died its logical death. Her playing an iconic Cherie character is clearly yet another attempt to force her down everyone’s gullets as a beauty nonpareil. Cherie was the undisputed reigning goddess among Hong Kong’s pretty deep pool of goddess-like actresses in the 1980s, Michelle needs photoshop to make her pictures even look remotely goddess-like. I just do not get. Huang Xiaoming appears determined to reprise Chow Yun Fat’s playbook and isn’t content to just redo his iconic Shanghai Bund character in a drama remake and now wants to tackle this one. I’m not surprised Kim Soo Hyun is heading to C-movies since he’s so on fire in China after You From Another Star he would have to be a career idiot not to capitalize on it. But to think that he wants to do a Leslie character….I don’t think so m’boy. Oy vey, can’t we leave well enough alone?

I’ll admit that Once a Thief isn’t anywhere the movie it could have been with three superstars at the helm, the story was rather flat and the directing could have done with some restraint. But it was still a decent showcase for the rare collaboration of these three, and with it being Cherie’s last acting gig, is still one of those movies that gets watched today by aficionados of the golden days of Hong Kong cinema. Check out Leslie singing the theme song to the movie below.

Once a Thief OST MV “The Wind Still Blows” by Leslie Cheung:

[youtube id=”Eh8RiD3FtkI” w=”625″ h=”445″]



Movie Remake of Once a Thief in the Works with Huang Xiaoming, Michelle Chen, and Kim Soo Hyun — 19 Comments

  1. If this happens, I will cry. As much as I love those three actors/actresses, I do not have as much faith with the movie itself.

    The second movie is rarely ever better than the first and I don’t think this one is an exception…

  2. Is this the same Michelle Chen who was cast as Xiaolongnu in the recent Return of the Condor Heroes? I remember how displeased you were about that, ha.

    I don’t like the idea of remakes either but maybe playing a modern day character will be less of a travesty.

  3. Gosh that MV! T___T

    What make the true stars of that bygone era charismatic is you never doubt them larger than life comfortable in their own skin, they are even more charming when the camera is on them, and that’s superstar quality. We do not need copious amount of BTS, pouring over one cute RL gesture spinning the charm. These hyped up commodities can imitate all they want, but never touch any of it. HXM only works on screen when he can let go of his heightened adonis baggage. I still can not wrap my fingers around why whenever he is asked to do suave, as gorgeous as he is, it comes off opposite of attractive, to me.

    MC is not the most unfortunate looking thing ever on screen, but how lack of confident she is showing in her every picture snapped of her while trying way too hard to pose and sell the aegyo as she is contorting herself into that ‘goddess’ mode is very cringeworthy to witness. IF only she could be content with what she’s got.

  4. Oh Leslie how I miss you. Just hearing his voice brings back a torrent of memories & feels. Sigh. I remember him singing this song in his farewell “Final Encounter of the Legend” concert and it was so sad. That song & 明星 made me cry. I will always think of him when I hear 明星.

  5. Omg no to this entire crap. The original is still one of my favorite movies, i still remember Red Bean Pudding lmao.

    And i agree Koala, i can`t stand Michelle Chen or her basic ass face. And Taiwanese media are pushing this `goddess image` almost as much as Korea is pushing it with PSH, and i seriously don`t get it.

    • I guess both MC and PSH appeal to the younger generation (pre-teens to teens). So, pushing their image as “goddess” can ensure a longer lasting of profits. Both are lovely gals but not the “goddess” type.

  6. I LOVED the original, particularly the bromance between Fa-gor and Leslie. All three were such big movie stars that ooze with charisma. I read about this remake a while ago and felt perplexed with the casting choices. Gotta give it to MC’s management company, they keep getting her roles usually portrayed by goddesses. Maybe she’s really attractive in real life? Otherwise really don’t see her appeal… is she that big of a box office draw?!

  7. Leslie had a magical touch to everything he made. Michelle hasn’t garnered more criticism for the upcoming ROCH? Xia long nu now cherie chung? HXM is a CYF wannabe from shanghai bund, I recall. Doubt they will have any chemistry if ksh even understands them lol.

  8. Awww… leslie chung… one of my faves from the HK era of the past. He was so charming it was hard not to like him. I think I own pretty much everything he was in on dvd, among others. I should probably break one of these out of the boxes and rewatch them. As for a remake, whatever I guess. They will do what they want to do.

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