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Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao)
Infernal Affairs
Wu jian dao
Actors: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen
Directors: Alan Mak, Wai-keung Lau
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 41min

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)...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen
Directors: Alan Mak, Wai-keung Lau
Creators: Alan Mak, Wai-keung Lau, Ellen Chang, Elos Gallo, Lorraine Ho, Felix Chong
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Dubbed
DVD Release Date: 12/07/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Thai, English
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

John C. (bookwheelboy)
Reviewed on 12/7/2007...
Somehow very familiar...
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Tension Rises Very High: Magnificinet Hong Kong Noir
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"'Infernal Affairs' is the biggest box-office hit in Hong Kong in 2002, and if you see it, you won't be surprised with that fact. The film's premises are very simple; it's about a cop who is actually a gangster, and a gangster who is really a cop. With this clever version of 'undercover' theme (that was previously seen in the films like 'Donnie Brasco'), 'Infernal Affairs' presents as much tension and humanity as was seen in that Johnny Depp/Al Pacino film.

Ming (Andy Lau, 'House of Flying Daggers') is a young mole in the Honk Kong police, whose real boss is Sam, head of the Triads. He has been in police force for nearly ten years, and starts to doubt his life while faithfully swears his loyality to Sam.

At the same time, Yan (Tony Leung, 'In the Mood for Love') is an undercover cop, who has been in Sam's Triad for ten years. His superior officer Wong (Anthony Wong) is the only one who knows his real identity in the police, and Yan is also getting fed up with the life based on lies.

As the poilce force confronts the Triads, both Ming and Yan attempt to help their side anticipate the moves of the other. Finally, both sides realize that there are moles among them, and investigations and revenges make these characters lives more complex and unbearable.

DO NOT EXPECT the martial arts or so-called actions. This is a noir, and that means that it is the characters that matter, or their lives. I know, though the story is simple, it needs leap of faith. But the portraits of the people, and the pains of keeping on pretending what they are not, are vividly presented that the audiences will be sucked into the turmoil of their emotions. And the results are often nerve-shattering.

ANd the acting is all top-notch. I hear the talk of Hollywood remakes, which, I am afraid, is a tough work to do. Lau and Leung are both perfect, but more fantastic are Anthony Wong as police inspector and Eric Tsang as Triad boss. Their performances are so magnificient, even sublime at times, that you will stop caring which side would ultimately win.

Helped greatly by the moody camera (Andrew Lau and Lai Yiu Fai & 'visual consultant' Christopher Doyle, 'Rabbit Proof Fence'), 'Infernal Affairs' tells you that without John Woo Hong Kong movie industry can still produce excellent films with a touch of reality.

'Infernal Affairs' is part of trilogy, and you will see 'IA II' and 'IA III' sooner or later. 'Infernal Affairs' is the one you are watching now; 'Infernal Affairs II' is a prequel to it; and 'Infernal Affairs III' is a sequel to the original. But remember, the series is not the usual Hollywood commercial tactics to cash in on the hit movie, for some say '2' is better than the original. That's the only reason I don't give 5 stars, which 'Infernal Affairs' certainly deserves."
What a crappy poster!
VKY Monkey | Union City, CA United States | 11/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Look at the crappy poster design for this outstanding movie. I just hate how Western versions of Asian films ruin the look and feel of a good movie. The poster makes it look like this movie is a love triangle of some sort or a cheap police crime story. If you can get a copy of the original DVD release in Hong Kong (3 movies in total), get those instead. The posters and covers are much better. They have removable English/Chinese subtitles as well. This is probably the best Hong Kong film of the last decade, so it's worth a shot if you're interested. There's great character development and interesting plot twists that will keep the audience intrigued until the last moments."
Amazing! End of story.
Shaun | Minneapolis, MN USA | 05/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.