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Infernal Affairs (2002)
"Mou gaan dou" (original title)

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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 85,603 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 186 user | 163 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A story between a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Their objectives are the same: to find out who is the mole, and who is the cop.


(as Andrew Lau) ,


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chen Wing Yan (as Tony Leung)
SP Wong Chi Shing (as Anthony Wong)
Kelly Chen ...
Elva Hsiao ...
Chapman To ...
Ka Tung Lam ...
Inspector B (as Lam Ka Tung)
Ting Yip Ng ...
Inspector Cheung (as Ng Ting Yip)
Dion Lam ...
Chi Keung Wan ...
Officer Leung (as Wan Chi Keung)
Hui Kam Fung ...


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 Aya

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Loyalty. Honor. Betrayal. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 December 2002 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Infernal Affairs  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$179,789 (Japan) (24 October 2003)


$89,594 (USA) (15 October 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The psychiatrist's name, "Lee Sum Yee", is a homophone (in Cantonese) for "your psychiatrist". See more »


When Lau goes to listen to the "sampler" CD that's been dropped off for him, he presses the button on the player and we see the CD drawer close twice - first in the long-shot, and then in a close-up that starts from a fully-open position on the drawer. See more »


Chan Wing Yan: Should I salute you?
Lau Kin Ming: No, don't. How long have you been an undercover?
Chan Wing Yan: I've followed Sam for 3 years; I had several other bosses before. All together, it's been 10 years
Lau Kin Ming: 10 years? I should salute you, instead.
Chan Wing Yan: I just want an identity. I want to be a normal man.
Lau Kin Ming: Getting tired?
Chan Wing Yan: You've never been a mole. You won't understand. Too bad I still can't find the stooge. I'll take him down if I've found him.
Lau Kin Ming: Don't worry. Let me give you back your identity, I'll open your file, but I don't have the ...
See more »


References Hard Boiled (1992) See more »


The Forgotten Time
Composed by Chen Hong Ming
Lyrics by Chen Hong Ming
Performed by Tsai Chin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thrilling Chase of Cop Vs. Cop
15 October 2004 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

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.

52 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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