In this prequel to Mou gaan dou (2002), Chan Wing Yan has just become an undercover cop in the triads while Lau Kin Ming joins the police force. Both the triads and the police find an enemy in a rival crime boss.
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and tied and gagged with her underwear. Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho... See full summary »
During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.
Chan Wing Yan, a young police officer, has been sent undercover as a mole in the local mafia. Lau Kin Ming, a young mafia member, infiltrates the police force. Years later, their older counterparts, Chen Wing Yan and Inspector Lau Kin Ming, respectively, race against time to expose the mole within their midst. Written by
The English title is a play on words mixing Ming's job in the IA, the infernal nature of both characters' double lives, and finally Dante's Inferno, relating to the original Cantonese title. See more »
Changes in the time on the clock in the living room when the cop is listening to the CD that's been dropped off for him. See more »
Composed & Arranged by Ronald Ng
Performed by Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (as Tony Leung)
Produced by Ronald Ng and Jacky Chan
O.P. BMG Music Publishing Hong Kong, Ltd./Catchy Music Publishing, Ltd. See more »
I'm late in discovering the Hong Kong crime thriller genre so I can only compare "Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou))" to its Hollywood compatriots. It grippingly is the equal of such intense examinations of the anguish of undercover cops as "Donnie Brascoe" or dirty cops such as "Narc" or "Training Day."
Key is the dynamic opposite pairing of two leonine, charismatic actors, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, the self-sacrificing heart throb from "Hero (Ying xiong)" and the languid lover from "In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa)" here as an antsy, anguished too long undercover cop versus Andy Lau as his crisply efficient, ambitious counterpart.
The plot, propelled as well by the music, unpredictably twists and takes hairpin turns from the beginning so that even with helpful flashbacks it's a thrilling roller coaster ride to try to follow the constantly changing loyalties, manipulations, deals and revelations, not unlike the TV series "The Wire."
Regardless, you get that the real battle is for the characters' souls as much as their lives and you hold your breath to the last surprising minute. The initial motivations for how the men came to be at this crossroads will doubtless be explored in the prequel and sequel that haven't been released in the U.S. yet.
The women are just the girlfriends, but they do have separate lives, jobs and choices that impact the men in their lives.
With noted cinematographer Christopher Doyle is listed as a "visual consultant" in the credits, the great bulk of the film takes place at night, like a comparable chase film "Collateral," so it was unfortunate that the print I saw was not pristine.
It was also annoying that the subtitles were white on white illegible and that ideograms that are shown in the scene are not translated, even when the camera rests on them for a length of time that makes one assume something significant is written there.
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