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Infernal Affairs [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A]
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With Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong filmmakers Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak have successfully taken a smart script and a great cast, added some stylistic cinematography, and dual-fistedly given a new twist to a formulaic genre. Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), a young, loyal gangster, is ordered by his Triad boss Sam (Eric Tsang) to join the police force. While on the inside the young mole can keep a close eye on police activity, ensuring the gang's activities will not be interrupted. Police Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) has a similar plan. He takes a bright, ambitious police cadet Yan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and makes him an undercover cop with plans to get him inside the Triads. Years pass and both are now deep into their assigned roles. Undercover cop Yan, more or less living the life of a gangster, is now a member of Boss Sam's group, and "Officer" Lau has all the appearance of a good cop trying to bust up the Triads' drug ring. During a bust that could finally bring down Boss Sam, the moles inadvertently become aware of each other's existence, and each is left wondering who is on the inside. What follows is a unique and exciting twist on the classic cat and mouse chase in which each man is not fighting for his life, but for his anonymity. In addition to its plot twists, what lifts Infernal Affairs above the standard cop story is its subtle exploration of the relative nature of good and evil. Part action, part psychological examination, Infernal Affairs is a sharp and fresh take on the classic crime story, and the inspiration for a 2006 Martin Scorsese remake (The Departed). Not to be missed. --Rob Bracco --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Some of Hong Kong's finest stars and character actors are present in this film and convincingly display why they are so highly regarded. Tony Leung, Andy Lau and Anthony Wong in particular display why they are so in demand in such continually highly-praised pieces.
The story itself is ingenius and continually piles on the suspense and every now and then an absolute corkscrew of a twist. The fear you feel from each of the characters and their paranoia of constantly being discovered truly concinces you that they are treading life on a knife edge. What is also surprising is the relative lack of violence in the film. Suspense and thrills are generated through knife-edge tension and not hails of bullets. What this film aspired to be was an intelligent an thoughtful thriller, and it succeeds stunningly. Moreover, at just 100 minutes, it is also a lean thriller with no spare meat.
I cannot reccomend this film highly enough. And much as I despise remakes, the proposed Martin Scorsese one does intrigue me. With a director like Scorsese at the helm and actors of the calibre of Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon involved...maybe the new sanitised American version will be just as good. But then again, the film is also going to star Mark Wahlberg...
Infernal Affairs is a little less gentle on the viewer in the storyline setup, and it's a bit difficult to work out what's going on at first, but if you stick with it it's a very rewarding film, and much grittier than The Departed. The only duff note in the film for me was the love interest element (even though Cecilia Cheung is breathtakingly lovely), which seems to come out of nowhere here, but seems quite natural in The Departed.
In summary: Gripping drama, well worth seeing.
This film marked a major change in Hong Kong Cinema Which for the last few years had been churning out lame comedies and action movies that were poor at best. When infernal affairs came out it was at the end of a very bad year for Hong Kong Cinema, it broke box office records beating off films like Harry potter and Spiderman. As you can guess it was the kick start their industry needed, the two sequels proved just as popular.
The movie is about two characters - Ming the triad mole who has become an inspector in the police, played brilliantly by Andy Lau. And Yan an undercover police officer in the mob, played by Tony Leung in a near career high. - And the parallels and moral obstacles in their lives.
The supporting cast includes stars such as Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang along with rising talents Shawn Yue, Edison Chen and Chapman To.
This is not only an important Hong Kong film but internationally also, it has influenced many recent films namely American remake The Departed by Martin Scorsese, I highly recommend this to all movie lovers.
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