HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
   
 
Newest Articles
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
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
   
 
  Infernal Affairs 2
Year: 2003
Director: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
Stars: Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Francis Ng, Carina Lau, Man-chat To, Andrew Lin, Roy Cheung
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: As sure as night follows day, when a film scores big at the Hong Kong box office, a sequel won’t be far behind. Infernal Affairs was one of 2002’s biggest hits in Hong Kong; unfortunately, of its four stars – Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang – only Lau makes it out alive, somewhat scuppering any sequel plans. One dead character and you can use the ‘long lost twin brother’ story (á la Chow Yun-Fat in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow 2), but three twins is pushing it somewhat. So directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak decided to go the prequel route for Infernal Affairs 2, exploring the events and relationships that led to the tense cat-and-mouse games of the first film.

Anthony Wong resumes his role as Inspector Wong, who has an alliance with on-the-rise gangster Sam (Eric Tsang). Sam works for Triad boss Ngai, but when Ngai is shot, his ambitious son Hau takes over the operation and starts wiping out his father’s former partners. Meanwhile, Wong has sent an undercover agent (Shawn Yue) into Hau’s organisation, unknowing that Sam already has an insider (Edison Chen) in the police force.

These moles – cop Yan and gangster Ming – were played in Infernal Affairs by Tony Leung and Andy Lau, and those dynamic stars gave the film an intense dramatic edge that the actors playing their younger counterparts here can’t hope to match. So Lau and Mak wisely shift the emphasis onto Wong and Sam, turning the film from tense, stripped-down thriller to something more operatic. Wong is far from the by-the-book cop he becomes – his alliance with Sam borders on friendship, even though he seems to be sleeping with his wife, and it was he who called the hit on Ngai. The lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are completely blurred – it turns out that Yan is Hau’s half-brother, who has disowned his family’s criminal ways to pursue the law. Wong sees him as the perfect candidate to infiltrate Hau’s operation, but his superiors are less sure, unconvinced that family loyalty won’t outweigh his dedication to the job. Meanwhile, Ming’s ascension through the police ranks is helped by Sam sacrificing lower-down gang members to boost his arrest record. And when Sam finds out that he is on Hau’s hit-list, he makes the decision to testify against his former boss.

Lau and Mak’s biggest influence is clearly the Godfather films. The murders of the mob boss’s partners are juxtaposed in exactly the same way they were at the end of Coppola’s first Mafia epic, there’s a family get-together akin to the Corleone wedding ceremony; even the music has a weird Italian/Chinese feel to it. But the characters aren’t given nearly the depth that Coppola gave his, and the film-makers aren’t particularly interested in exploring the inner-workings of a crime family. For all its grand scope, multiple sub-plots and variety of references to Hong Kong’s political situation as the island prepares for the handover to Chinese rule, Infernal Affairs 2 is only really concerned with surface thrills.

But as slick entertainment, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable, superbly shot spectacle. Eric Tsang in particular gives a charismatic performance and provides the film’s one moving sequence as he mourns his wife’s death in the closing moments, while Anthony Wong is typically good as the cop more inclined to follow his heart than his head. The film is relatively light on action, but what there is is sudden and striking, and the numerous Triad/cop confrontations are tensely staged. Amazingly, Lau and Mak managed to deliver a third Infernal Affairs the same year... do these guys ever sleep?

Aka: Wu Jian Dao 2
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 9937 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
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
  Lee Fiveash
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: