> Volume 6 > Number 32


Andrew Lau

Andy Lau
Tony Leung
Anthony Wong
Eric Tsang
Kelly Chen

Release: 17 Sep. 04

Infernal Affairs


An impressively told policier condensing proto-Hollywood Asian pulp, Infernal Affairs offers some of the yearís tensest moments in movie going, from its opening drug bust into its two wonderful skyscraper sequences. Hereís a film that has encapsulated the pre-crossover John Woo with nods to post-Asian infiltration Hollywood. The greatest example of the Hollywood mindset behind Infernal Affairs is that itís closed-ended opening salvo has already had two sequels in China. The American remake -- like a Japanese Kill Bill -- is already in pre-production.

The premise is wonderful in a B-movie sort-of way. Lau (Lau; his career finally reaching a crossover appeal years after his work with Wong Kar-wai) is a gangster who was placed in police academy as a youth so that the local crime lord could have a mole inside the police precinct. When the police chiefs discover that there is a spy in their midst, they humorously assign Lau to internal affairs to weed out himself. Meanwhile, Yan (Leung; still just as amazing as his most recent work with Wong Kar-wai) is a former friend of Lau as a cadet who was taken from the academy to infiltrate the gangsters. In this world of double-crossing the moles are trying to find out each otherís identity so as to help their real superiors.

Wonderfully edited by Danny Pang of the Pang brothers, the film has a bluntness with its impending violence and crisscrossing allegiances that creates tension throughout. Even though a few moments are ruined by maudlin music, the overall experience is graceful in its pulp fiction, and its flashiness comes as a product of its own merit. Though Iím not fully certain where the film might have gone its succeeding chapters Iím thoroughly interested to find out, and no less disturbed by the idea of watching the Hollywood facsimile of a facsimile

©2004, David Perry,, 6 August 2004