Following the murder of Yan, Ming's life is starting to crumble. Not only is his marriage on the rocks, but it looks as if his career is going down the pan too. In order to save his job, he decides to investigate his new colleague, Yeung.
Director duo Andrew Lau and Alan Mak bring the iconic "Infernal Affairs" series to an ending which adds up almost every missing piece from the first two installments with a rather deep, psychologically smart script. IA3 takes place in essentially two distinct time periods: the months leading up to the death of Yan (Tony Leung), and nearly a year after his death. Here in the present time, Ming (Andy Lau) has just been cleared of any charges in Yan's death, a process that was more red tape than actual suspicion of guilt. Still, he hasn't been sitting on his hands. Apparently, when Ming offed Billy in the elevator at the end of IA1, Billy offered up some interesting news: some cassette tapes were delivered to Ming's boss, which supposedly contained conversations between crimelord Sam (Eric Tsang) and his moles. The tapes were intercepted by one of the moles, but now months later the tapes have resurfaced in the possession of Security Inspector Yeung (Leon Lai). There were five moles, four of which are now dead of missing. Ming knows he's the last one, but how to make sure no one else finds out?
The path to Ming's goal (total separation from his secret triad life) seems a rather obvious one: finger someone else as the mole, a task which seems a lot easier since Yeung apparently had secret ties to Sam. Even more, Yeung has some sort of relationship with Shen (Chen Dao-Ming of Hero), a Mainland crimelord who had a deal going with Sam over a year earlier. That deal is at the center of Yan's tale, which unfolds during the time when he was still under Sam's wing. Yan is still trying to feed intel to Inspector Wong (Anthony Wong), but things are murkier than he would like. Sam is paranoid and unpredictable, and Yan frequently finds himself caught in Sam's tricky mind games. Adding to the intrigue is Yeung, who apparently was hip deep in Wong, Sam and Yan's dealings before the events of IA1. What is Yeung's deal? Was he working for Sam? Is he now working with Shen? Will Ming frame Yeung as a triad mole? Or will he simply expose that Yeung really IS a triad mole? And will Ming ever get his supposed heart's desire: to be a good guy? During the last few months coming up to Yan's (Tony Leung) death, he has been ordered by court to see psychiatrist Dr. Lee Sum-Yee (Kelly Chen) to be treated in response to his violent behaviour. During the few months Yan's feelings for Dr. Lee seem to grow as time nears when he is assigned to carry out a dodgy deal for Sam with Shen. Compared to the original and the prequel IA2, IA3 has more of a psychological base compared to the philosophical undertones of 1&2. This still provides excellent material for the star-studded cast to work their magic alongside the intense cinematography and Chan Kwok-Wing's dynamic music score. The flashbacks of Yan and Dr. Lee may seem a little corny, but gives a chance for the character of Dr. Lee to expand. May sound quite complicated, thats because it will be unless you've watched the first two of the IA Trilogy and maybe re-watch IA3. Overall, a tense, classy Hong Kong thriller with excellent production values and brings the best loved crime trilogy to a breathtaking end.
Simply amazing. Watch Infernal affairs i and ii first in order to truly appreciate number iii. The final part of a trilogy that is so underrated its almost criminal. It will seriously rival your love of The godfather/goodfellas/the departed/any criminally minded film you can think of. This film is deep not to mention the soundtrack is to die for.
Infernal Affairs III doesn't manage to live up to its predecessors, but not for want of trying. Its biggest problem isn't the intriguing prequel/sequel structure that juxtaposes the aftermath of the first film as Andy Lau tries to be the good man he wants to be, with disastrous consequences, alongside the last months of Tony Leung's undercover man. Rather, it's the fact that it takes so long to really find its stride. It's not until the two-thirds mark that it really kicks in with a hospital scene where past, present and possible future collide that completely wrongfoots you. You're suddenly in a whole new place that makes you rethink what you thought was going on, leading to a powerful ending that isn't as affecting as II, but leaves one character quite literally in the circle of unending, inescapable hell. It's also here that the theme of loss of identity starts to work overtime, as Lau forgets who he is, participating in the dead Leung's sessions with the court-appointed psychiatrist and setting out to expose a corrupt cop oblivious to the fact that the evidence incriminates himself.
While Lau spends most of the movie thinking he's digging a tunnel when he's actually digging his own grave, the flashback scenes involving Leung are very different to his character's trajectory in the previous movies. If Lau is a bullet train to hell, for the first time we see Leung's character in his happier moments as he is filled with hope for a future the captions gradually counting down to his death constantly deny him. In that sense it's less subversive than the first two films, which broke time-honored HK thriller tradition by letting the bad guys win, but it works on its own terms, and while it does take to long to sort itself out (or rather for the characters to lose sight of themselves), there's a constant governing intelligence to it that separates it from other HK pictures of its ilk. Indeed, it's only really in comparison to the other two films that the third seems the lesser. It probably would have helped if they'd spent a little more time on it - it was released only two months after the second film. However, you really need to see the films in the order they were made to get the most out of them: nearly all of the film's emotional touchstones (such as the oft-repeated "Everything will be ok tomorrow" or the song that first linked the characters) relate to the previous films.
The extras package is pretty light this time round - trailers for all three films and a brief featurette only. The 2.35:1 transfer is impressive, and the subtitles are framed for widescreen TVs.