Tian xia wu zei (A World Without Thieves) ~ (China, 2004) ~ DVD

thievesFeng Xiao-Gang’s film is an interesting hybrid. Part martial arts film, part caper film, it mostly takes place on a train journey. A con-team couple (Andy Lau & Rene Liu) meet up with a naif named Dumbo with half a mind to fleece him of his money and half a mind to protect him from another group of thieves. Crossing paths with Dumbo changes their fate.

Rene Liu’s Wang Li is pregnant and has decided she must change her life radically, reverse the bad karma that she has been accumulating – for the sake of her unborn child.  Andy Lau’s (Infernal Affairs and House of Flying Daggers) Wang Bo is not convinced, partly from pride in his skills which he feels he needs to demonstrate to the rival gang, also out to relieve Dumbo of his cash.

This is a stylish film, perfectly fit to the close and narrow venue of a moving train car. The twists and turns and sleight of hand tricks keep the pace moving. Uncle Bill (You Ge), is positively Charlie Chan-esque as the head of the rival gang. Make that David Carradine’s (Kill) Bill. Fun, and unexpectedly polished.

♦♦♦1/2 ⁄ ♦♦♦♦♦

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