John Woo’s Once A Thief

This 1996 made for TV movie is a remake of the original Chinese release directed by John Woo. The signature John Woo action sequences of Once a Thief went on to inspire a television series of the same name. Amin Bhatia was the music composer for both the movie and the series.

“John Woo’s Once a Thief” tells the story of two young refugees from a criminal empire in Hong Kong. It stars Sandrine Holt, Ivan Sergei, Nicholas Lea, and Jennifer Dale as “The Director”. Cutting-edge worlds, fusing romance, action and humor, all in the signature style of John Woo, the man who broke down the wall between the action movie and the art film.

Unlike a conventional series that establishes one musical style and direction, each of the 22 episodes conveyed a different musical genre. Styles included hip hop, industrial, avant garde, jazz, film noire, rave, and even bachelor pad lounge. Producers William Laurin and Glenn Davis, being very musically literate, had specific requests for each week’s score. With help from programmers Gaz Mellen, and Byron Wong, Amin underscored each week learning about new musical styles on the fly. “Each spotting session was a foray into some new uncharted territory for me” recalls Amin. “One week it was 1940’s film noir. The following week I had to come up with military stripper music. It was a riot!”

The scores were mixed and edited by David Greene and his staff at Magnetic Audio who also served as the series Executive Music Consultant. Songs were under the supervision of Janet York and Michael Perlmutter of S.L. Feldman and Associates. The series theme was composed by Psychic Mambo.

“John Woo’s Once a Thief” is an Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc production, in syndication worldwide.