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Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao) (2002)

  Directed by: Wai Keung Lau
Starring: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Links: Infernal Affairs on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao) (2002) is also mentioned in timchuma's review of Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996).

"Affairs and such" - a review by em_fiction

There is a somewhat lack of Asian films on nofreelist, so I feel that it's my duty as an Asian to promote Asian cinema. That is, good Asian films, so no, The Weatherwoman Returns (1996) and Erotic Ghost Story (1987) aren't plausible excuses. Infernal Affairs, a Hong Kong crime thriller, has a promising concept that a lot of fellas will enjoy, but it really can't help itself being a little all-over-the-place.

Ming (Andy Lau) and Yan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) are on the opposite sides of the law. The scenario twist is that both guys are moles for the opposite of side of the law of which they are, so in other words, Ming, who's really a criminal, is a mole working in the police department, while Yan, who's really a cop, is undercover working for the crooks. A drug bust gone sloppy makes both sides aware of the moles lurking among their teams, and so, Ming is handed the task of seeking out the mole in the police department, but since it's actually him, his real task to find the undercover cop. Likewise, Yan has find out who the mole in the cop department is. Sound complicated? Don't worry, it'll make more sense when you watch it (if you followed every bit of that then apologies for insulting your intelligence).

Infernal Affairs was released in Hong Kong late 2002 and I think it was given a limited released over here in good ol' Australia late last year (2003) (I remember I saw the Movie Show review). Since the Honky release, there have not just been one, but two sequels (well, a prequel and a sequel exactly), due to its popularity (I think). The official site (which is half in Chinese) has a whole heap of cool crap that gives a good of idea of the film, and there's no denying that it has immense style.

If you're looking for extensive action sequences, then this ain't the film you're after. Although it may look like it, this isn't an action film — it's a thriller, and a very good one indeed. Yep, it's an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller that works on many levels, but I can't say I was left with as many teethmarks on my fingernails as I'd hoped. Fans of action, don't be disappointed, there is the occasional action scene, but they're only in there because the context of the plot called for it, unlike some other films where the action scenes are kind of added before the plot (if they even decide to have a plot).

Andy Lau and Tony Leung are absolutely great as the two protagonists. These fellas have every bit as much charisma as big Hollywood actors like, say, Brad Pitt (who, according to Mr. Stratton's source of rumours, is interested in doing a Hollywood remake). I haven't had time to chase up the sequels but I damn well wouldn't mind checking them out after seeing the calibre of this one. As for the sequels being released so soon; well, it's actually quite a conventional thing to do in Asian films. Don't ask me why — us Asians just love sequels.

If you're a fan of clever twisty crime plots, or if you just enjoy giving your brain a bit of exercise, then this film is really worth having a look at.

em_fiction gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 27 Feb 2004

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