Hong Kong is back -- Infernal Affairs

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Latte Thunder
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Hong Kong is back -- Infernal Affairs

Post by Latte Thunder » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:00 pm

There's been a lot of fanboy boot licking going on about this movie since it landed on American shores. Because of all the hype, I put this one off for a long time, but no longer! Tonight I broke down and gave Infernal Affairs a shot.

The hype was that Infernal Affairs was one of the first steps to lifting Hong Kong out of the slump it's been in since the mid-90's. There's been a lot of high gloss, low content pap coming out of Hong Kong over the last several years and driving the bandwagon is director Andrew Lau. Lots of elaborate special effects and music video style dominates his movies but they never deliver any sort of worthwhile storytelling. Sure, Storm Riders is cool in a summer blockbuster sort of way and the first couple of Young And Dangerous flicks were pretty decent, but nothing on this guy's resume really stands out. So imagine my surprise when I found myself thrilling to Lau's Infernal Affairs.

Here's the deal: Tony Leung plays Yan, a cop undercover that has managed to work his way close to a Triad boss. Andy Lau plays Lau, a triad plant who has worked his way through the police academy in order to be a mole in the police department. This is the story of how Yan and Lau's paths cross. Lau uses his insider information to tip his boss off to police activity during their drug deals. Yan feeds all the Triad goings on to his boss in the police department (played by the incredibly cool Anthony Wong). Both sides of the war know that each other has been infiltrated, but neither knows who among them is a traitor. The movie becomes a cat and mouse game as Yan and Lau desperately try to discover each other.

It's gripping. Start to finish, this is one awesome movie. The pace is quick enough to keep you engaged the entire movie, but not so fast that it loses you. Though the plot is sometimes a little convoluted, you always know what's going on. Every encounter between the police and the triad is absolutely riveting. Oddly, for a Hong Kong movie, this is nearly action free. There are a couple of kinetic scenes but this is hardly your typical John Woo/Ringo Lam rip off. It has all the typical elements of a Hong Kong melodrama. The interplay between Lau and Yan is very balletic and graceful as we've come to expect from Hong Kong actioners of yesteryear, but hardly a bullet flies in this movie. There are a couple of shootouts, but you won't bee seeing anyone leaping sideways, two guns blazing. Regardless of this lack of ass kicking, it's a solid thriller. I can't recommend this movie enough.

I'm hesitant to check out the sequels as the Hong Kong movie industry has a tendency to ass fuck every good thing deep into the realm of mediocrity, but I was left wanting more... so who knows? Maybe I'll check out parts two and three. Also, it looks like Martin Scorcese's 2006 project is going to be a remake of this movie. I usually condemn remakes, as they're typically handed off to first-time directors and hacks, but I'll be interested to see what Scorcese does with this material.
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:42 am

I haven't seen a decent ching chong china man action flick since TIME AND TIDE. I'll keep an eye out for this sucker.

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Post by Griff [Mola] » Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:44 am

Wow. Thanks for the recommendation, something I now endorse wholeheartedly. This has gotta be one of the most well written HK cop flicks that I've seen. Its a shame that the only way to get world audiences to invest in this story is to remake it (supposedly Marky Mark is up for Anthony Wong's part - my god) because the original will grab ahold of anyone who gives it half a chance.

Go rent it now you fat fucks.

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Post by Latte Thunder » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:01 pm

I just read recently that the two main characters will be played by DeCaprio (as Leung's role - the good guy) and Matt Damon is up for the bad guy (Lau's role). The main bad guy, a Boston mobster is being played by Jack Nicholson.
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Post by Kimberly » Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:16 pm

Very good...

Not the happiest of films...
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Post by llapman » Sun Mar 27, 2005 12:41 am

I agree. I saw at SIFF(one of the best film fests in the country), and it rocked! They ran a screening of all 3, but I couldn't do it as I had other fish to fry. I have heard they are ok, but not as good as the first (the story of most sequels anyway). Check it out if you haven't already.

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Post by Kimberly » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:52 pm

Opening in a few weeks... Scorcese's version
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:18 am

THE DEPARTED, aye? Hope it turns out well.


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