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|Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao)
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Avg. Customer Rating: (based on 42 reviews)
Sales Rank: 8374
Directors: Wai Keung Lau, Siu Fai Mak
Publisher: Miramax Home Entertainment
Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Manufacturer: Miramax Home Entertainment
Label: Miramax Home Entertainment
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Ntsc
Languages: English (Dubbed), Cantonese Chinese (Original Language)
Rating: R (Restricted)
Running Time: 101 minutes
Number Of Items: 1
Release Date: December 7, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: 2002
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
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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
An award-winning crime thriller in the intense tradition of HEAT and RESERVOIR DOGS ... critics everywhere have hailed INFERNAL AFFAIRS for its gritty action and international superstars. Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung -- HERO) is a hard-nosed veteran cop sent undercover to infiltrate the notorious Triad crime ring. An expert at bringing down violent syndicates, Chan thinks it's going to be a routine mission. What he's not prepared for is the discovery that the Triad's boss (Eric Tsang -- THE ACCIDENTAL SPY) has planted a mole (Andy Lau -- THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER) in the police department ... and now Chan is being hunted down. In this battle of wills, only one cop can win!
Customer Reviews: Read 37 more reviews...
Amazing! End of story. May 12, 2006
Infernal Affairs begins as young police cadet named Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung) is being groomed by the highest ranks of the Academy to eventually become an inside man for the police. His keen eye and steady dimeaner makes him the perfect candidate to infiltrate the Triads, who have taken control of Hong Kong's streets and are peddling massive amounts of drugs to it's citizens. At the same time, a different road is laid out for fellow Academy officer Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau). Although we aren't witness to the actual path he takes, Ming becomes Yan's counterpart in the film, as he uses his position within the higher ranks of the police department to keep Triad Boss Sam a step ahead of any police actions. Sam is deftly played by Eric Tsang, who gives a highly effective, authentic performance here. What follows is one of the best table-turning, catch-me-if-you-can cop stories ever put to film.
Often compared with another great epic, Heat, Infernal Affairs is quicker, brighter and goes down in 40 minute less time. It's apparent why this film became a smashing success in Asia and in turn, exploded onto the world scene. Spawning a sequel (which is actually a prequel) and then a third installment.
Returning to the story; Yan, after leaving the Academy and subsequently earning his chops
on the street as a Triad footman for 10 years, becomes a member deep in Sam's inner circle. Yan continues to work directly and exclusively with Superintendent Wong (played by Anthony Wong) feeding him information that Wong puts to good use. He brings that information to his most elite police team led by Officer Ming, who unbeknownst to Wong, relays it back to the Triads. Ming showcases his moxie and stealth inside an active command center, feeding police channels and locations to Sam in real-time, within five feet of fellow officers. Yan, at the same time, finds a way to keep Wong informed. A brilliantly scripted Felix Chong & Siu Fai Mak screenplay lends weight, tension and gravity to even the simplest scenes. Finally, Wong is able to get Sam brought in to be interviewed, but by that time, they both know that each has an undercover man inside their particular camps. In a Pacino/DeNiro-esque face-off, Wong and Sam smugly challenge each other to find their respective moles. The rest of the film is yours to enjoy.
One aspect of this film that gets as much attention and kudos as the characters themselves
is Chan Kwong Wing's stellar, powerful, moody soundtrack. The original score begins the
film along with sweeping, abstract visuals that flow gracefully across the screen, accompanied by the undulating score. What stuck with me in particular (as a first time listener to his work) was the alternately light, then heavy drum tracks as they scurried from front to back, left to right, left-rear to right-rear and diagonally back; washing the entire room with energy and life. The mood shifted from forceful grandeur to intricate suspicion and back again. The perfect audio preview to what was to follow. Deep inside the film is a heart-wrenching female vocal track that seems to signal the true beginning to Yan and Ming's respective gambits toward finding out each another, and when she sings again, yet another chapter begins to take shape. It's brilliant in depth and scope. Never a track out of step with the film and only the most appropriate volume and energy. So rarely does a soundtrack fall into line and dance so well with a film. So rarely does one set the tone for a film.
Infernal Affairs is loaded with subterfuge and intrigue. We're privy to both sides of the proverbial infiltration equation from the start, but this formula gets more complex with near misses and natural character evolutions, even as the story itself appears to begin it's resolution. At least that's what I found. There is a touch generic cop vs. cop to it (if I must find a flaw), with a couple classic stand-offs, but very little mano a mano conflict. The film's confrontations are wholly group against group; good against bad. That can't be ignored. The beauty of the film is in the interaction. It has all of the elements of many crime dramas, but Infernal Affairs is genuine and sophisticated like none other.
Don't let the goofy title fool you. It's a great flick. March 25, 2006
1 out of 1 found this review helpful
I decided to check out Infernal Affairs after it got a lot of positive word of mouth at the Denver International Film Festival a couple years ago. I was not disappointed. The storyline is immediately engaging, as the police and a major crime gang each place an undercover member into the opposing organization. From that point on, the groups race against each other to find the mole that has infiltrated their ranks. The storyline's twists and turns keep the viewer guessing until the very end. The movie is fast-paced and suspenseful throughout.
Martin Scorsese is currently shooting a remake of this film. The American version will be called The Departed. I question whether a remake is necessary, since Infernal Affairs easily stands on its own, and as it is it should be accessible to American audiences. However, since Scorsese always puts his own stamp on his works, I'm eager to see his take on this fascinating thriller.
Didn't change my life February 21, 2006
0 out of 2 found this review helpful
I expected, based on the reviews and critical rep, to like this more...while I was modestly entertained, I wasn't riveted to the screen, wasn't blown away - maybe there is a culture gap, but I just didn't get it. On the plus side, there are some great acting performances, particularly from the always excellent Mr. Leung..
Superb film making! January 31, 2006
2 out of 2 found this review helpful
I practically grew up on chinese movies, and what I loved most about these movies were the action. Movies like Once Upon A Time In China, Drunken Master and Police Story all bring back fond memories of the best kung fu and martial arts moves in movie history. But I've never really been impressed with the storyline of chinese movies, although they brought fun to a whole new level, there was yet to be an intelligent movie from Hong Kong....until now. I just watched Infernal Affairs and I have to say, this movie blew me away.
The story breaks the mold of "if it's not broken, don't fix it". The story challenges the viewers to think, and we never know how the story ends until the very last frames of the movie. Sam is a triad boss and he plants a mole, Lau in the police force. Similarly, the Police Superintendent Wong plants their own mole, Yan in the triad. After 10 long years, Yan and Lau have fit in their roles perfectly. Lau has since impressed his superiors that he is given a promotion to Inspector. Meanwhile, Yan has earned the respect of Sam and is now in his trustworthy circle. Things start to heat up and it's not long before both parties realize they have a mole in their side. The movie continues with a cat and mouse game of figuring out who exactly is the informant and concludes with a spectacular finale that puts most Hollywood movies to shame.
First things first, I LOVED the story. It is not a story of good guy vs. bad guy. It's about who they become. The movie questions, the moles have been in reverse sides for so long, is it possible they take on that role permanently? If they don't, what's to stop them? Is it trust or the fact that people can't change who they are no matter how hard they tried? The events that unfold throughout the movie, when the police is trying to outsmart the triad and vice versa, is also something to shout about. As is when the 2 moles are trying to find out who the other person is. Trust me, they make very good adversaries and they are always one little step behind each other, no one seems have the advantage and that is what makes the story so thrilling. It keeps us guessing, there are no obvious conclusions. And while there are gunfight scenes, they exist largely to strengthen the story and not the other way round. One thing's for sure, Infernal Affairs is banking on it's intelligence more than it's action and personally, I found it refreshing. Kudos to the writers for doing a fantastic job keeping us at the edge of our seats the entire time.
With an already great script, they needed good actors. Andy Lau and Tony Leung mesmerize us with their performances. These characters are a delight to watch, never have there been a pairing like this since Vince and Jules in Pulp Fiction. Their confidence never seems to waiver as they're trying to outdo each other, yet we get a sense of emotional degradation as time goes by and we realize, they want to go back to living a normal life. They are tired of the lies and deceit, not only to themselves but to the people they care about. These two give such commendable performances that they tend to overshadow the quality acting of two Hong Kong movie veterans, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang, as the Police Superintendent and triad boss respectively. Although sharing less screen time than the two leads, they gave brilliant performances as well to further push the movie to perfection.
In the end, I really have to admit that this movie is superb in all accounts thus the 5-star rating. I am not rating this movie as a "Hong Kong movie" but as a movie in general. I enjoyed this movie thoroughly for it's original script and wonderful acting. Rarely do I enjoy a movie this much and I can say with a degree of confidence, this movie is so much better than most Hollywood movies out there. Watch it and you'll know. Definitely a classic in my books. Note: This movie won multiple "Best Movie" awards in Asia, as did the actors for their acting here.
p/s I read that the great Scorsese is making a movie based on Infernal Affairs, starring Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. I can't wait! Here's to hoping Scorsese will breathe new life to this already great movie.
You're in for a treat January 8, 2006
1 out of 1 found this review helpful
This is a very entertaining movie about a young man recruited by the mob to join the police, and be their inside man. His job is to alert the mob whenever the police are about to move in. At the same time, a young police cadet is sent to infiltrate the mob. His job is to inform the police about mob activities. Both sides know they have moles, but they do not know who. It is a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
The DVD picture is very good. After 10 minutes, you will forget you're watching a movie and you will enter their world. Infernal Affairs is highly entertaining and I recommend it to anyone who likes good police dramas.
The only thing left to ask is, why hasn't parts II and III been released in the USA? I would like to enjoy the rest of the story.