Saturday, 2 April 2011

Film Review: INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002)

InfernalAffairs_poster Directors: Wai-keung Lau & Alan Mak
Running Time: 101 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Thriller/Drama
UK Release Date: 27th February 2004

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 2nd April 2010.


This is the film on which Martin Scorsese based his 2006 Oscar winning film, The Departed. Set in Hong Kong, it’s the story of two cops, one good and one bad and both on the wrong side of the fence, but I guess if you’re familiar with The Departed then you’ll already know that. The similarities between the two films are very striking, much closer than I expected, but more of my thoughts later. Here’s a brief summary first (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please try to discover who the mole is while I write the next paragraph).

infernal%20affairs Lau Kin Ming and Chen Wing Yan were at the police academy academy at the same time. While Yan was expelled, Lau graduated and rose up through the ranks. The thing is, Yan was expelled for a reason, for the next ten years he was to work as an undercover cop in the Triads (criminal gangs in Hong Kong). Only two people knew about Yan, one of them has died and the other is Lau’s boss, SP Wong Chi Shing. Now working for the criminal boss, Hon Sam, Yan is becoming tired of his undercover life and longs to be free of his duties. Wong promises him that after they get Hon Sam he will be allowed to return to the fold. Unfortunately, as they are closing in, it becomes clear that Hon Sam has a man inside the police force; someone high up. There are now two insiders, a cop undercover in the Triad and a Triad spy amongst the cops. It’s now a race against time to discover the identity of the other guy before he identifies you… Gripping stuff! I’ll leave it there, you’ll appreciate if you’ve seen the film, that it’s very difficult to summarise this one without giving anything away.

ia-1-1024-1 This is a really well made film with some great stunts, thrilling music and a tremendous plot. Hong Kong cinema has come on a long way and it shows, the production is really well done and there are some great performances. All of the leading cast did very well, in particular; Andy Lau as Inspector Lau Kin Ming and Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Chen Wing Yan, both are excellent in this. Anthony Wong Chau-Sang was very good as SP Wong Chi Shing, as was Eric Tsang as Hon Sam. Honourable mentions also go to Kelly Chen as Dr. Lee Sum Yee and Sammi Cheng as Mary.

chow-chun-fai-infernal-affairs I find it hard not to draw comparisons with Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’, since this is the source material. I found it surprising that the two films are very close in the plot devices they use. If anything, I slightly prefer this version, it has something extra that I can’t define. Maybe it’s because it’s subtitled and you are forced to pay more attention, but I like this one slightly better. Of course, I think it goes without saying, this one comes very very highly Recommended!

MY SCORE: 9.5/10

InfernalAffairs1 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMdB Page:
RT Page:
Official Site:

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