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A World Without Thieves (2004)


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. Partners in crime and passion, the couple swindle their way across China, until one fine 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 and relationships that they run into Fu Gen in a train station.

An encounter that will alter their fate forever.

Fu Gen aka Dumbo is a hillbilly who is traveling to his home town with 60 grand to make a home, get a wife and start making a decent living. His work buddies suggest he wire the money home instead of carrying it around with him, due to the amount of thieves there is in China. Although Dumbo is naive and doubts he would meet any thieves on his trip home.

Li feels sorry for this naive young man and decide to adopt him as her little brother and keep an eye on his making sure he doesn’t loose his fortune. She could have not chosen a better time to help him with a group of expert con men and a feisty female boarding the train too.

The group leader ‘Uncle Li’ (Ge You) warns his group to stay away from Dumbo since he is guarded by both Bo & Li. Yet all of them attempt to swindle Dumbo but Bo sends them packing one by one. Uncle Li is fascinated by Bo’s pick pocketing talents and insists on wagering on him. If he can stop them from getting the money they’ll leave them alone if not Bo has to join them. As you expect Bo smugly accepts!

Now the acting of this movie is top class! Many have quoted this movie as one of Andy Lau’s best performances and I agree with this quote. Past amazing performances included Running on Karma, Running out of Time and his flawless performances in Infernal Affairs 1 and 3.

Rene Liu was a fresh face for me, she also pulled a great performance, she shows the more innocent and loving side of the fellow con-man / woman.

When watching the movie at times in the action sequences they go into a slow motion montage of cool moves, quite similar to Jingle Ma’s ‘Tokyo Raiders’, which is always fun. Although I think some of the audience would dislike the ‘slickness’ of these scenes, shame on them.

Final thoughts a beautiful movie, great story and great acting…what else to you need?

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