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A World Without Thieves (2004)

Cast: Andy Lau, Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, more...
Director: Feng Xiaogang, Feng Xiaogang
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Tartan Video
Genre: Foreign, China, Crime
Running Time: 100 min.

They are the perfect Bonnie and Clyde: Bo, a master pickpocket from Hong Kong, and Li, a femme fatale grafter from Taiwan. Partners in crime and passion, the couple swindle their way across China until one day Li suddenly decides to call it quits, both to her egregious lifestyle and to her entanglement with Bo. It is at this crossroad in their lives that they run into Fu Gen, a humble peasant -- an encounter that will alter their fate forever...

GreenCine Member Reviews

The Art of Stealing by HChang November 18, 2007 - 8:00 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Who would have thought stealing could be an art? Watch this film and you get to see master thieves match wits and show off skills as they try to outdo each other. Perhaps some feats are exaggerated, but who cares? Director Feng Xiaogang cleverly includes these elements to engage his audience in his adaptation of Zhao Benfu's novel. Watch Andy Lau (Wang Bo) peel a hard-boiled egg by spinning it in a glass, or Ge You (Uncle Li) peel a raw egg with his finger nail!

But A World without Thieves is not all about thieving stunts - it has a great story too, beautiful cinematography, and some very good acting. The story takes place mostly on a train. After learning she's pregnant with Wang Bo's child, Wang Li (Rene Liu, The Personals) vows to go straight so her unborn child would not be marked by her sins. She does not reveal her pregnancy to Wang Bo, who thinks she's only suffering from high altitude sickness. When Wang Li insists on leaving, Wang Bo gets impatient and drives off with the BMW they've recently stolen. While walking to the nearest Tibetan town, Wang Li meets Sha Gen (English subtitled name, "Dumbo"), a na´ve lad who offers a very thirsty Wang Li a drink and a ride on his bike into town. After spending five years as a carpenter and saving 60,000 yuan, Sha Gen decides it's time to go home and find a wife. Sha Gen stubbornly insists on carrying his savings to avoid paying the fee he would have to pay to wire the money back to his village. He refuses to believe the world is full evil people and publicly challenges all thieves to identify themselves before boarding the train. This, of course, attracts Uncle Li and his gang of thieves. Wang Li is determined to help Sha Gen get home with his savings, and Wang Bo reluctantly goes along with her. Despite the sizeable hoard, Uncle Li instructs his gang not to steal on the train. When Four Eyes (Gordon Lam) disobeys and botches the job because of Wang Bo's interference, Uncle Li is suddenly interested, not in the money, but in dueling with Wang Bo.

Admittedly, I fall for any movie with breathtaking backdrops that offer a view to desolate parts of the world (beginning of film). So, if you're only looking for action, this movie may be a tat slow for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend this movie!

Note on DVD extras: the DVD comes with an interview with Andy Lau speaking Cantonese even though he speaks Mandarin in the movie. Unfortunately, for non-Cantonese speakers, the interview is not subtitled. While useful, you're not missing much. Lau just provides his insights on the movie and characters.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.33)
6 Votes
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