Thief: The Complete Series
tongue-in-cheek (think Adam
1960s Batman and BBCs latest
Merlin) and loaded with fascinating
characters, John Woos
television series Once A Thief: The
Complete Series blazes onto home
entertainment DVD for the first time...
BROUGHT UP BY A CRIMINAL FAMILY IN HONG KONG, professional thieves Mac Ramsey
(Ivan Sergei) and Li Ann Tsei (Sandrine Holt) became allies and lovers; but
during their perilous escape from the gang lord who had trained them perfectly
in the art of crime and martial arts, they became separated and Li Ann is certain
that Mac is dead.
In John Woo's action-packed, light-hearted drama series Once A Thief,
Li Ann is recruited by an elite organisation in Vancouver, Canada, that takes
on forces that are too powerful, too protected, or too difficult for regular
law enforcement agencies. Also working for the agency is disgraced former cop
Victor Mansfield (Nicholas Lea), who has always believed that it is more important
to get the job done than to follow the rules, and they fall in love.
But Mac has survived and is also recruited by the sexy, hardened Director, Diana
(Jennifer Dale), who always gets what she wants. Li Ann, now engaged to be married
to Vic, is confused by Mac's reappearance, but the three agents manage to work
together as a team, forced to use their expertise to fight crime however
unconventional their methods may be.
Once A Thief: The Complete Series contains 22 episodes on six discs,
starting with Big Bang Theory, in which the team sets out on a crime-busting
career that will take them into unpredictable, brutal worlds where the stakes
are high and where failure could result in death.
It has been three months since The Director, in violation of the rules, got
the team together, knowing full well that Li Ann and Mac were two criminals
on the run from the Hong Kong family that raised them and now wants to kill
With a nifty bit of chair-work, a woman held for ransom is freed, Mac falls
for Jade Swan Chinese restaurant worker Kathy Chow (Valerie Chow), who may or
may not be with the good guys; and the team has to break into the Zurich Mercantile
Bank to recover a disc bearing a list of the people who helped dissidents out
of China after Tiananmen Square in 1989. This episode also features Ernie Grunwald
as Thermo Rakis, George Santino and Alexandre Beaulieu.
Rave On sees the team reluctantly taking on the dubious Nicki (Liisa Repo-Martell),
who bursts onto the scene in a hail of bullets and seems to be more trouble
than she is worth. While questioning a local rave bar owner with the unlikely
name of Sam Fransisco (Don McKellar playing a terrific character part) as they
investigate the case of three young men who have suspiciously drowned, the team
is led to The Colonel (an underrated Mark Wilson).
The Colonel runs Dogstar Shipping, has a connection with Kazakhstan and is working
some sort of scam involving identity theft. Also featured are: James Allodi
as Jimmy Nikaline and Shawn Mathieson as Jimmy Niccolini.
In Trial Marriage, the team's target is Herbie (played superbly by Jonathan
Higgins) and his utterly ruthless and overblown wife Peaches (Sabrina Grdevich),
who were responsible for a number of bombings, shootings, large-scale robberies
and random acts of terror around the world.
Top of their class in terrorist school in Libya in 1991, this oddball pair could
be linked to the sudden deaths of four prominent scientists who all attended
a Biological Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Also featuring: Kathryn Greenwood
as Margo; Roger Honeywell as Dr Lysenko and Kathryn Winslow as Peaches' Cousin.
Guest-starring the lovely George Takei as chief police investigator McCoy Matsumoto,
Art of Death deals with a cult known as The Human Liberation Front that believes
humans do not have the right to play God and that aims to establish equilibrium
in the natural world.
In the past two years, the HLF has blown up pharmaceutical manufacturing plants,
bio research labs and even a hospital. When the Japanese Police raided the cult's
headquarters in Tokyo and arrested its leader, second-in-command Alexa Lundquist
(Kristin Lehman) escaped and is making her way to Canada to work with a local
cell. Matsumoto is to work with the team in order to locate and neutralise the
cell. This episode also features: Alex Appel as Renata; Juliette Powell as the
courier, Lola; and Duff MacDonald as Explosives Dealer.
Later episodes include the addition of teenaged mob boss Jackie Janczyk (Victoria
Pratt) to the team and the appearance of Li Ann and Mac's foster brother Michael
Tang (Michael Wong), to whom Li Ann was promised and who has sworn to seek revenge
for their betrayal of the family. Mac and Victor are rivals in love and career
and the resulting conflict between them is handled well.
A first for television, Once A Thief is set in Canada and Hong Kong and
brought the unique excitement of Hong Kong films to the small screen, fusing
romance, action and humour = all in the uniquely ballistic style of John Woo,
the director of countless film and television classics in Hong Kong.
Colourful and visual, the series hooks you instantly into the story and quickly
introduces the very diverse collection of wacky characters. Humorous, exciting
and compulsive, Once A Thief benefits from the excellent fight sequences
and character interaction.
Once A Thief also features: Rachel Shane; Howard Dell as Agent Dobrinsky;
Greg Kramer as Murphy; Julian Richings as Camier; James Allodi as Nathan Muckle;
Robert Ito as Tang Godfather; Gerry Quigly as Dr Fry; and David Stinson as Hot
Series Produced by: Executive Producers John Woo and Terence Chang, Glenn Davis,
William Laurin and Wendy Grean; Supervising Producer is Larry Lalonde; Created
by Glenn Davis and William Laurin and based on the film by John Woo; Series
Original Music by Ken Worth; Series Cinematography by Maris H Jansons and Bill
Wong, CSC; Series Writing Credits: Glenn Davis, William Laurin, Phil Bedard,
Larry Lalonde, Jack Blum, Sharon Corder, Steven Barwin, Paul Quarrington and
Gabriel David Tick; Series Directed by: Peter D Marshall, David Wu, John Fawcett,
T J Scott, Steve DiMarco and John Paizs; Fight Co-ordinator is Paul Rapovski;
Theme Music Composed & Performed by Pyschic Mambo, Ken Worth, Michelle Worth
and Dee Long; Produced in Association with CTV Television Network Ltd, 1996.
From John Woo, the maverick Hong Kong action
director of Face/Off, one of the most unforgettable action thrillers,
and Mission Impossible II, comes the Network DVD release of Once A
Thief: The Complete Series, which will be available to own for the first
time in any format in the UK as a six-disc set on 29 August 2011. Total Running
Time: Approximately 990 Minutes | RRP: £24.99 | Catalogue No: 7953687.
Disc 1: Big Bang Theory | Rave On | Trial Marriage | Art of Death. Disc
2: Mac Daddy | Wang Dang Doodle | It Happened One Night | Drive, She Said.
Disc 3: Jaded Love | Wedding Bell Blues | That Old Gang of Mine | The
Last Temptation of Vic. Disc 4: Mama's Boys | Li Ann's Choice | True
Blue | Kangaroo Court. Disc 5: Little Sister | The Director Files | Shaken
Not Stirred | Politics of Love. Disc 6: Family Reunion | Endgame.
"Humorous, exciting and compulsive, Once A Thief benefits from the excellent
fight sequences and character interaction"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar