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Worth A Look: 23.26%
Just Average: 16.28%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

3 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Infernal Affairs
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by David Cornelius

"The sequel can't come fast enough."
4 stars

“Infernal Affairs” has one of those ingenious set-ups that gets thriller fans itching with anticipation: the police force and the local mob both have moles working inside each others’ forces. And both moles, having built up trust behind enemy lines, have been put in charge of finding out who the mole is. In other words, while they’re busy trying to figure out who each other is, they’re also busy trying to figure out how not to give themselves away. Hot damn, this is gonna get good.

The great thing here is that the pay-off is every bit as good as the set-up, no small feat considering that the film arrives Stateside on a wave of massive hype. It’s worth the wait. Every bit as good as you may have heard, the film has all the sheen of a classic John Woo picture, only without being a rip-off of that style of shoot-’em-up. In fact, there’s relatively little violence and gunplay here compared to most Asian actioners, and the movie relishes instead in the hook of the suspense.

Consider the sequence in which a major drug deal’s about to go down, and the cops are slowly moving in. Lau (Andy Lau) is the top cop who’s secretly working for kingpin Sam (Eric Tsang); he keeps trying to sneak away to send messages to his boss about what his other boss is planning. Meanwhile, Sam’s right hand man, Yan (Tony Leung), is in reality an in-too-deep undercover agent, who’s somehow cluing police chief Wong (Anthony Wong) in on Sam’s next moves. With Sam and Wong looking closely over their shoulders, will either get nabbed? Will either mole discover the other?

Directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak wind the tension here so tightly that it’s ready to crack, and the resulting scene keeps us inching ever closer to the screen, lest we miss the next play in this clever game. The screenplay (by Mak and Felix Chong), direction, and, above all, editing (courtesy Danny Pang and Ching Hai Pang) are all airtight, and the movie simply crackles with the kind of excitement action freaks love. And the movie’s full of scenes like this, showstoppers that grab you but good.

Wisely, the screenplay opts to give Lau and Leung plenty of character on which they can chew away. Both Yan and Lau are the conflicted types, moles torn between the good and bad sides of themselves they must juggle. Yeah, this gets a wee cheesy in spots (mostly thanks to some awkward flashbacks), and the “conflicted undercover guy” is a bit too familiar to movie audiences by now, but the leading men are able to add an exciting freshness to the roles; because of them, the film’s every bit as addictive in the down time as it is during the slam-bang bits.

The best way, then, to describe “Infernal Affairs” is to say that this is the type of movie Asian action fans talk about when they say they love the genre. Intelligent, stunning, thrilling entertainment. And while the final scenes have a drag to them that doesn’t quite mesh, they do manage to set up the as-yet-unreleased-in-the-States sequels. And yeah, by the time this one’s over, you’ll be amped up to see the rest of the trilogy. Can’t wait.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10759&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/07/04 00:37:23
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Boston Fantastic Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Boston Fantastic Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 New York Asian Film Festival For more in the 2012 New York Asian Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/04/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess A tense thriller. A little confusing at times, but well worth figuring out 5 stars
6/27/10 Ken More cleverly crafted then the sloppy American remake. More intruging characters too. 5 stars
1/09/10 Ben C Great movie - tight thriller 5 stars
10/03/09 Stuart Vastly Superior to the likes of the Departed. 5 stars
3/04/09 Ryu Far more realistic than the American remake. Gets the job done better. 5 stars
8/23/08 David This is the movie the Departed wished it could had been. 5 stars
3/12/08 ako Best Movie By Dream Team, Great. 5 stars
6/13/07 HT The original deals more with the psychological aspects, which provides more dept 5 stars
5/13/07 fools♫gold About as overrated as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." 4 stars
4/30/07 Bob A great film. The Departed doesn't even compare. 5 stars
3/24/07 Charles Tatum This has all the makings of a Martin Scorsese film! 4 stars
2/14/07 Jim This movie is way better than that dreadful American remake 5 stars
12/04/06 Joel What the hell is "The Departed"? This is the one and only! 5 stars
11/19/06 WH THIS MOVIE IS GODLIKE~! =D 5 stars
11/01/06 Andy Loved this one more than "Departed." 5 stars
10/16/06 Logan The brilliant and stylish original never disappoints. 5 stars
10/03/06 Terry blows away the "The Departed" anyday. Original forever! 5 stars
11/26/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME, ONE OF THE BEST THRILLERS I'VE SEEN IN A WHILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/14/05 Kelly Chen I have never seen such a great film! 5 stars
5/23/05 susee not great story but damn stylish 5 stars
5/18/05 K. Sear Enjoyable but not brilliant. 4 stars
1/17/05 Roy Smith Again Not quite unique but still well done. 4 stars
11/09/04 Alaric L Great story, great acting & great editing makes this a Great Movie!!! 5 stars
10/23/04 MG Lau and Leung at their best!!! 5 stars
9/26/04 KD Has really tense moments, but second half is a letdown 3 stars
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  24-Sep-2004 (R)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2004



Directed by
  Andrew Lau
  Alan Mak

Written by
  Alan Mak
  Felix Chong

  Tony Leung
  Andy Lau
  Anthony Wong
  Eric Tsang
  Chapman To
  La Ka Tung

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