HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
   
 
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 10870 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: