HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Infernal Affairs Undercover Brothers
Year: 2002
Director: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
Stars: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Elva Hsiao, Man-chat To, Ka Tung Lam
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 4 votes)
Review: The Hong Kong film industry no longer produces the endless stream of inventive, Hollywood-shaming action movies it once did. The best directors (John Woo, Ringo Lam, Ronny Yu) have high-tailed it to America, the number of films produced each year has dropped dramatically, and a flashier, more Western style of film-making has replaced the intense blood-ballets of the late 80s/early 90s. Good genre films are still being made though, and Infernal Affairs, one of last year's big domestic hits, is a far-fetched but undeniably gripping thriller.

Chan Wing Yan (the ever-brilliant Tony Leung) is an undercover cop in deep with a Triad gang run by the charismatic Sam (Eric Tsang). It's been nine years since Yan adopted a gangster persona and is desperate to re-join the force as a normal policeman. Only his boss Wong (Anthony Wong) knows his true identity, and has promised him that once Sam's gang is busted open, Yan's undercover work is done. The complication here is that Sam has also planted a mole in the Hong Kong police, a gangster named Ming (Andy Lau) who is working right under Wong's nose. Both Wong and Sam know the other is spying on them from within, and are determined to be the first to flush out the respective insider.

Infernal Affairs has the highest profile Hong Kong cast for a long time. Tony Leung and Andy Lau are old hands at this sort of thing, and get to indulge in some Face/Off style ambiguity as to their true nature as heroes or villains; the film ends bravely by not fully resolving this. Up-and-coming stars Shawn Yue and Edison Chen play Yan and Ming in flashback, while the casting of Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang puts interesting spins on the characters the pair usually tackle. Wong has long been one of HK's finest actors and although his range is wide, he's best known for crazed bad guy roles in the likes of The Untold Story and Hard-Boiled. Here however he's the sympathetic police captain, while Eric Tsang, usually the comic stooge in films such as Once Upon a Time in China 1 & 2, is impressively menacing as mob boss Sam.

There's a surfit of contrivances and coincidences, plus a trio of redundant female roles that add nothing to the characters or the storyline. But directors Andrew Lau (no relation to the star) and Alan Mak play the film dead-straight and emphasise tension over action, helped by a pounding orchestral score from Kwong Wing Chan. It's a seriously high-tech film – there are countless of shots of computers and cops utilising complex tracking software, while numerous scenes revolve around characters using cellphones, being traced or having their cover blown by them. By comparison, Yan's method of communicating with Wong – morse code - seems amusingly quaint.

There's no great depth here, even if the film is bookended by Buddhist quotes, but it sure is entertaining, and reassuring proof that there are still some quality films coming out of Hong Kong. Two prequels have followed, directed once more by Lau and Mak.

[Tartan’s new Region 2 DVD – released under their Asia Extreme imprint – gives the film a suitably extra-packed treatment, improving on the supplement-free Hong Kong disc. There’s a 16-minute making of featurette, which is a little generic but includes plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, as does the collection of B-roll footage called Confidential Files. A blooper reel shows a variety of pratfalls and fluffed lines, while the alternate ending was shot for the Chinese mainland and wraps the film up in a far less ambiguous manner than the original ending. There’s also a commentary from director Lau.]

Aka: Wu Jian Dao
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 11220 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Andrew Lau  (1960 - )

Hong Kong director and cinematographer responsible for some of the biggest hits in recent HK cinema. Born Wai Keung Lau, he photographed classics such as City on Fire, Curry and Pepper and Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. As a director, Lau brought a flashy, commercial style to films like Naked Killer 2, Modern Romance and To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, all produced by the prolific Wong Jing.

In 1996 Lau directed the hugely successful gang movie Young and Dangerous, which he followed up with four sequels and a prequel. His other notable films include the effects-laden fantasy epics Storm Riders, A Man Called Hero and The Duel, as well as co-directing the hit cop thriller Infernal Affairs and its two sequels. Not to be confused with actor Andy Lau.

Alan Mak  ( - )

Hong Kong director born Siu Fai Mak, who began directing in the late 90s with crime thrillers like Rave Fever and the intense drama Final Romance. Infernal Affairs, his film with the popular director Andrew Lau, was the biggest domestic hit of 2002.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: