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無間道 (2002)
Infernal Affairs

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 02/05/2011
Summary: this is ideal for listening to oldies...

it is almost ten years since chan wing-yan (tony leung) was turfed out of the police force as a cadet, tasked with embedding himself deep into the triads. at the same time, lau kin-ming (andy lau) was one of a group of junior triad members who was entered into the police cadets. now, yan is a very close associate of a triad boss, sam (eric tsang), whilst lau is working closely with wong (anthony wong), who is trying to break sam's operations. when yan and lau participate in an attempted sting, both sam and wong realise there are moles in both camps...

after drifting away from his 'young and dangerous' days, into the world of cgi heavy wu xia, andrew lau teamed up with alan mak and returned to the world of cops and crims, but with a much more mature and stylised approach. this, the result of this collaboration, is probably the finest film he has been attached to as director.

'infernal affairs' is a beautifully styled, extremely well executed tale of two moles, brilliantly brought to life by tony leung and any lau. leung has previous, with his role in 'hard boiled' being almost identical, thematically speaking. meanwhile, who wouldn't believe that the inherently perfect any lau is actually working for the devil? it would certainly explain the lack of ageing. oh, and eric tsang and anthony wong provide outstanding support.

great stuff.

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 10/31/2010
Summary: Hell on earth

One way that fans of Hong Kong action movies and fans of Italian opera are similar is that they both get asked the same question: "Which (movie/opera) is best for someone who is unfamiliar with the genre. The form of the answers are different, of course, since opera is best seen and heard live, although there are more than enough recordings to go around and movies are meant to be played back on a screen. When asked about opera my default response is generally "La Boheme": it is short, has recognizable tunes, many of which have been used in cartoons or commercials, has great characters and one would have to have a very hard heart not to shed a tear at the end. I may have stumbled upon an answer for the Hong Kong movie question at least for modern action/police films. A person with whom I worked had seen "The Departed" and liked it. I loaned her "Infernal Affairs" and she loved it.

Which makes a lot of sense. "Infernal Affairs is an amazing action and suspense film full of edge of the seat, heart in the mouth moments with outstanding performances by a stellar cast--an ensemble cast full of movie stars. At the same time it has a subtext (barely sub) rooted in the Avici hell of Buddhism, its characters trapped in a microcosm of the endless karmic cycles of death and rebirth into a world of pain and suffering that ends only when one's unwholesome karma has been completely depleted. Since everyone on both sides of the law--or is that even an issue here?--in "Infernal Affairs" have lives of deceit, rage hatred they will be plunged even further into hopeless depths of Hell.

"Infernal Affairs" is a great movies and one of the best produced anywhere during the 1990s.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/30/2010
Summary: Slick but been done before and much better

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 07/05/2010
Summary: Brilliant plot and acting to match...

Top-notch cast and terrific plot combine to create one of the best crime thrillers produced in the past decade. Tony Leung proves once again that he can inhabit any role given him and maximize the character. Andy Lau also does an admirable job with his portrayal of the mole undercover in the police department who may be starting to different ideas about his future.Great support from Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang as well. Remade by Scorcese as The Departed and spawned two sequels (one a prequel). Highly recommended.


Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/07/2009

Just when you thought Hong Kong cinema was dead, buried and forgotten filmmaker Andrew Lau and Alan Mak drop one of the slickest looking, most thought-provoking, and poignant cat-n-mouse triad dramas the former British colony has seen since the handover in 1997. Tightly edited, tensely paced, and as gracefully executed as a ballet by a wonderful cast "Infernal Affairs" not only looks sharp -- it is sharp and will surely guarantee repeat viewings regardless of your initial reaction to the film. Only a tacked-on epilogue and an inconsistent score feel out of sync here.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: dalvin
Date: 08/09/2008
Summary: Amazing, Simply AMAZING

Tony Leung Chui Wai is one of my favorite actors in the entire world, and that was the reason I purchased this movie. I had no idea what I was in for all I knew was there was a new Tony movie and I had to have it. I was told it was good, but I was not expecting a masterpiece.

This movie delivers incredinbly on all fronts, there is comedy, drama and it moves like an action flick. The cinematography is astounding, this movie is beautifully shot and the performances are amazing.

The story is of Ming(Andy Lau) and Yan (Tont Leung) two informants on the opposite side of the law, Ming a mole for the Triads and Yan a mole for the police force, and they must discover one anothers identities to protect there own and there is also a side story that focuses on mob boss Sam(Eric Tsang) and police super intendant Wong(Anthony Wong) they are seemingly different people in there everyday lives, but how they go about catching one another slip up is relative, they will use anyone or anything to reach this cause..

The entire movie is a game of cat and mouse that leads to one of the most shocking endings I have ever seen in a movie. The way this movie was written, the way it was delivered; I just can't say enough positive about it.

Andy Lau's performance as the twisted and confused Ming, is brilliantly play, so well in fact that there are times I caught myself feeling sorry for him and hoping that he would eventually become that good guy, he claims he wants to be.

Tony Leung is equally astounding as Yan, a character who's loyalty to his new lifestyle has put him in so deep that it is tormenting him. But, he is never so deep in that he questions whats right and wrong, and when I saw the way he was being used, it made me feel even more for him. I mean, he knew he was being used and his sense of righteousness kept him on the sraight an narrow.

Eric Tsang what can I say about him as Sam, what you see is what you get, a ruthless, coniving, backstabbing, stonecold killer. There is something about that look he had in his eyes when he laughed. One bad MoFo.

Anthony Wongs character is another who has several different ways you can view him, I hated him for what he was doing to Yan, but I understood that he didn't like what he was doing either, but he couldn't see another way.

There are other characters such as Keung, played by Chapman To, who was the comic relief but he was great with it. I really liked his character.

A modern day classic if ever there was one. One of the best movies ever made, amazing, simply amazing.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: steve_cole1
Date: 05/08/2007
Summary: one of the best hk films ever

Whoever says this film is rubbish is completly wrong it is great although yes tony leung does reprise his role from hard boiled it does borrow from some hk films but what films doesnt borrow from others but it has most of the top actors in hk film today ive watched it too many times to say other wise and it has a great soundtrack as well which is a plus for a hk film .IA 2 for me is a better film but this is still great

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/18/2005
Summary: Overrated action-drama still packs an emotional punch


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic)
Sound format: Dolby Digital

Desperate to re-enter civilian life after ten years undercover in a Triad gang, a lonely cop (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) is pursued by a detective (Andy Lau) from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, himself a Triad mole operating from within the highest echelons of the Hong Kong police department...

Part of a series of early 21st century Hong Kong blockbusters designed to compete with the increasing dominance of US movies in South East Asia, INFERNAL AFFAIRS was co-directed by Alan Mak (A WAR NAMED DESIRE) and Andrew Lau, the latter an acclaimed cinematographer-turned-director whose YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series introduced a degree of street-level realism to the jade screen, largely absent from HK cinema since the emergence of an ultra-stylized (and commercially viable) aesthetic in the 1980's, spearheaded by the likes of Tsui Hark and John Woo. Here, visual consultant Christopher Doyle (Wong Kar-wai's cinematographer of choice) establishes a level of 'naturalism' at odds with the melodramatic storyline (co-authored by Mak and Felix Chong, the latter responsible for recent blockbusters like TOKYO RAIDERS and GEN-Y COPS). That said, however, there's much to admire in this fascinating, multilayered narrative, in which guilt-ridden characters on both sides of the law are forced to adopt dual personalities, leading to conflict and betrayal. Topline actors Lau and Leung handle the script's complex emotional demands with effortless grace (the former plays a rare 'villainous' role, albeit an honorable one), though newcomers Edison Chen and Shawn Yu (playing younger versions of the main protagonists) are framed alongside their famous co-stars in a manner which suggests they're being groomed to take the place of yesterday's heroes.

The film's American influences extend to the muted violence and half-hearted action set-pieces, but the climactic sequences - in which several major characters meet unexpected deaths - are genuinely thrilling, and the film's dramatic impact is underlined by Comfort Chan's evocative music score, one of the best soundtracks written for a HK movie in recent years. Director Andrew Lau also doubles as cinematographer (alongside newcomer Lai Yiu-fai), and the film's widescreen visuals are a treat. Co-stars include popular character actors Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong, alongside well-known HK entertainers Sammi Cheng, Kelly Chan and debut performer Elva Hsiao, though the movie's female characters are basically sidelined throughout. Incredibly, the film was nominated in sixteen categories at the 2003 Hong Kong Film Awards (it won seven, including best picture, direction and screenplay) and was critically lauded by mainstream reviewers in the West, though it's hardly representative of the country's finest achievements. While perfectly acceptable in its own right, the film pales in comparison to the best of HK's 'golden age'. Two sequels followed in rapid order, along with a US remake - THE DEPARTED - directed by Martin Scorsese.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 10/16/2005
Summary: Heavenly!

Outstanding production design blends superb cinematography, costume and set design with
excellent cast performing exquisitely drawn characters that fill extremely well crafted
screenplay. Andrew Lau's camera work [and his direction of Christopher Doyle and Lai Yiu Fai]
is his finest achievement to date. Infernal Affairs is heavenly; the best film of 2002.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/27/2004
Summary: Best movie of 2002!!

Firstly, i only ASSUMED it was called "internal affairs", it wasn't until other reviewers mentioned it that i noticed!!

It is strange for a hk movie to have such a great story which is well told and with good plot twists. Usually a lot of hk movies feel like they have many plot holes but for once someone took time to develop a great worthwhile script. This i believe has been the downfall for hk movie industry but i can see why hk audiences embraced this movie so much

Infernal affairs is one of the strongest crime dramas hk has produced and it's easy to see why

With a strong cast and well developed characters, the movie is done to perfection. I have not been so impressed by a hk movie for a long time and this movie is a great step to revitalising the industry, i just hope the sequels can match such a entertaining movie.

If you haven't seen a hk movie in 2002, then you have to watch this!! Easily the best movie of 2002!!


Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 08/18/2004
Summary: Great movie. But....

Wow! Up until the last review I thought I was on the Infernal Affair fan club. I have to say that I enjoyed the film greatly. For the record everything being made now, whether in HK or Hollywood is recycled. The trick is to add a new twist to the story. Andrew Lau achieved that here. There is a small flaw here though and it's one that I have with a lot of HK movies. This movie needed 15 to 20 minutes of more content. While the main plot was told excellently, the subplots were almost laughable by their ineptness. It isn't that viewers didn't understand that the little daughter of his ex was Yan's. It was not understanding the reason for that to be included in the plot. We don't need that information if it's not going anywhere with it down the line. It's like me saying in the middle of this review saying "I like pizza" for no apparent reason. If this film was longer it could have expanded the subplots so that they tie in better. I'm wondering if Scorsese's version, if the rumors are true, will be as good.

Andy Lau acting prowess continues to blow me away. He's starting to aproach Chow Yun-Fat icon status. Tony Leung, Anthony Wong & Eric Tsang showed why they are some of the most respected actors in HK.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 06/24/2004
Summary: Extremely disappointing...

.. it copied nearly every Hong Kong film I'd ever seen (mostly Hard Boiled!!![...and Full Alert]). It's not terrible, but the good cast do not perform all that well. I worry about HK cinema if this is all it has to offer. I won't bother with the prequels because this was when all is said and done, just glossy recycled pap.

Reviewed by: SteelwireMantis
Date: 03/07/2004
Summary: A standout movie from Hong Kong!

After the extremely disappointing 'Wesley's Mysterious Files', director Andrew Lau teams up with Alan Mak to reunite HK superstars Andy Lau and Tony Leung in an all-star cast, hi-concept thriller.

Triad boss Sam (Eric Tsang) is disappointed by the progress of his Triad members. To make sure he won't fail again, he sends a handful of new recruits to join the police as moles. One of them is Ming (Lau - played by Edison Chen as younger Ming) who has risen to the status of leiutenant in ten years after joining the police. To crack down Triad activity, SP Wong (Anthony Wong) sent Yan (Tony Leung - played by Shawn Yue as younger Yan) undercover to infiltrate the Triad as Ming entered the police force. When a drugs bust goes awry, both leaders are aware of the moles in their present. And a deadly game of cat-and-mouse ensues....

This may look like the average violent HK action movie, but it stands far from it. This film focuses more on the characters to develop the story. We also learn that Yan is tired as a mole and is in need of psychological rest, he only sleeps at the couch of his shrink Dr. Lee (Kelly Chen) whom he builds an affection for. Ming on the other hand feels concious about his actions and wants to get by as an honest cop.

This movie combines the style of the 'Young and Dangerous' series with a powerful script making it a mixture of Hollywood thrillers (Heat, Donnie Brasco) and the works of John Woo and Wong Kar-Wai. But this film is much more enjoyable than 'Heat' (which is a good movie too). Hats off to Tony Leung - his performance was the best thing in this movie. Eric Tsang took me by surprise as he played Triad boss Hon Sam very well in a menacing way, and Anthony Wong also maintains a praiseworthy performance. Andy Lau seems to be a bit too similar to his other movies, but still plays his character quite well. 'Infernal Affairs' contains familiar references to Lau's previous successes - the steadicam shots used in 'Young and Dangerous' as well as the opening sequence as it is similar to 'The Stormriders'.

All-in-all, a good movie with a good concept which has proved that Hong Kong cinema still has it.


Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: zarrsadus
Date: 12/21/2003
Summary: Good

With the recent release of Infernal Affairs II (as of this writing anyway), I felt obligated to dig up the original and finally watch it. Overall the movie was very well done, the plot twists kept you on the edge of your seat as more of the story was uncovered. Tony Leung did a great job acting as the mole who had been undercover too long and you could really believe that he was going crazy. Anthony Wong also made you feel for his character. The ending was well done and really unexpected, I would like to see the alternate mainland ending even if people say it detracts from the film.

My main gripe was the women who served almost no purpose. Elva Hsiao was nice to see as a cameo, but added little to the plot. I guess it shows that Yan has a life outside the triad waiting for him but she had already gotten married and then is never heard from again. Similarily with Kelly Chen as the psychiatrist, um... what was that about? Their parts were small and barely significant to the overall plot or character development.

Besides this I still feel that Infernal Affairs is one of the better movies of 2002, but maybe not up there as the greatest ever made.


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: 27jewels
Date: 05/03/2003
Summary: Excellent ! ,Will not dissapoint- Believe the hype!

I hadn't watched a HK movie for a while and did not expect great things from this movie and maybe that is why it simply blew me away! Tony stood out in his role, and Anthony and Andy are great as usual. So many HK movies these days promise so much but rarely delivers BUT this one certainly does. Believe the hype! A solid plot, executed quite well. I can't imagine many people not understanding the relationship between Yan(Leung) and his EX, and her(their) daughter (do the maths-doh!). My only negative is Kelly. I feel she wasn't given much time which made her appearance irrelevant and maybe it would be better not having her there at all. I feel it disturbed the flow of the film. There was a few loose ends at the conclusion of the movie, but not enough to spoil it. Danton makes a good point, hopefully this marks the end of the HK obsession of Feelgood/ Romantic Comedies. I would almost put this film on par with the original Running Out of Time (1)!

Reviewed by: YutGouHoYun
Date: 04/09/2003
Summary: Excellent Movie

Put alot of hot HK stars and get a bad Ocean's Eleven? Wrong! Get a cool movie with little flaw. The title Infernal Affairs... Infernal relating to buddhism. If you pay attention you realize that Elva is Tony's past lover and that the little girl is his daughter. Why people dont get it is beyond me. Overall the cast ensemble is top notch, the movie is ultra sad and leaves you yearning.

Reviewed by: mediawhore
Date: 03/21/2003
Summary: my my my

i liked andy lau before but now, oh so much more! although a bit confusing for me for the first entire disc of the vcd, i caught up quick enough to still really enjoy the movie. and i also have to say it's a pretty stupid name.

Reviewed by: fancynancy
Date: 03/09/2003
Summary: excellent

my only gripe (okay, i have a few) is the title. inFERnal?? shouldnt it be inTERnal? someone please explain???
elva hsio's 2minute scene wasnt really explained, i had to read the dvd character background to get it. sammi and kelly should have gotten bigger parts! tho the chemistry between tony leung and kelly chen was really really good. and the ending was.... somewhat frustrating...
internal affairs is an otherwise flawless thriller--its clever, slick, makes you think and leaves you breathless (or quietly crying...wont give anything away).
the actor who stood out was definately tony leung, no doubt one of the most talented and watchable actors in hong kong in like, ever. andy lau is also very good, together the two of them have the type of charisma on-screen that just makes you watch in awe.
i also expected a lot more dry humour, some sarcasm, maybe, but there wasnt much. but thats okay. the rest of the movy made up for it. i highly reccommend it.

Reviewed by: carrot car
Date: 03/08/2003
Summary: 7 Stars

Of the two, Tony Leung has more style. They gave him the badass look, but with the wimpy goodguy heart. Andy could be more evil than he was. I enjoyed the beginning of the movie which was strong. The middle and end was where it unravelled and fell apart. Kelly, Edison, and others were completely wasted in this film. They are much more talented than what the film showed. Overall, I believe it was an above average film, but was not GREAT.

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 03/08/2003

I have to admit, I don't like cop movies at all. They confuse the daylight out of me. Indeed, I missed so much the first time I watched Infernal Affairs, and a second try enhanced my understanding. Good movie.


Reviewed by: reelcool
Date: 02/24/2003
Summary: well done HK

Nothing over-the-top in this movie, which made some think it was boring. Why Eric Tsang as mob boss? Didn't anyone notice some leprechaun escape from a box of Lucky Charms? Kelly is so sexy, but Tony's character only got to sleep in her office.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 02/24/2003
Summary: Red Hot & Cool

Andrew Lau and Alan Mak hit the bull's eye with a tug-of-war tale between the triad underworld and the police in "Infernal Affairs," starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung. From a script by Alan Mak and Felix Chong, "Infernal Affairs" is a glossy and polished production that delivers the goods. Andy Lau plays a triad member who joins the police force, while Tony Leung is a cop that has infiltrated the triad mob. Both are moles trying to gain the upper hand in the never-ending war between the police and the triads. It's like viewing two sides of a bad coin.

"Infernal Affairs" is the best film from Andrew Lau to date, and a continuation of Alan Mak's developing writing and directing talents, demonstrated in the film "A War Named Desire." Andy Lau and Tony Leung are excellent as intelligent and worthy adversaries, battling as extensions of their superiors, played by Eric Tsang (mob boss) and Anthony Wong (police superintendent), respectively. Mak's pacing is never slow or boring, placing Lau and Leung on the razor's edge, as each tries to expose the other. Andrew Lau's cinematography is clear, crisp and visually stimulating with panoramic vistas of Hong Kong's cityscape and bay from the rooftops.

The entire cast does a superb job, even though the women characters are basically cameo roles. Although the film promotes two directors, there is no sign of strife or indecision as Lau and Mak do an exemplary job presenting the ebb and flow of tension and intrigue between foes. Some may say that they've seen this theme before or that it is nothing new under the sun, but "Infernal Affairs" is filled with confidence and brio and, above all, a sophistication that hasn't been seen in Hong Kong cinema for quite some time.

"Infernal Affairs" is red hot and cool. See it now.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 02/17/2003

For a few years now, it seems, HK filmmakers have been striving to compete with Hollywood-type product, with mixed results. At long last, they have finally achieved success: Infernal Affairs is as slick, well-crafted and good-looking as any Hollywood thriller - and also as generic, predictable and devoid of a sense of place and any local, unique flavour. No wonder a major Hollywood studio has bought the remake rights.

Starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Andy Lau Tak-Wah, as well as featuring strong performances from supporting characters like Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong, the movie offers a cleverly written, polished story about competing undercover agents (one for the police, the other for a triad gang) who are on a life and death collision course, trying to outdo each other and stay one step ahead of having their true identities revealed. Much of the plot is narrated visually, and Andrew Lau succeeds in creating a tense atmosphere of suspense. Both leads have plenty of charisma, and Tony Leung in particular manages to add a captivating emotional dimension and sense of tragedy to his portrayal of a police officer trapped in the fake existence of pretending to be a triad. We've had this before many times in HK films (and Lau himself has wandered into this territory before with To Live and Die in TsimShatTsui), but here the story is given a fresh twist by providing the hero with a counterpart in the police force: Andy Lay plays a triad who has infiltrated HK's finest. What follows is a tense cat and mouse game between these two men, and even though the final outcome is fairly predictable, I cannot deny its emotional impact.

The cast is predominantly male, and the 3 female characters function primarily as adornments. All three of them are protrayed by singers (Sammi Cheng, Kelly Chen, and Elva).

I did enjoy the movie, and it certainly deserves the success it's had, but I couldn't help wondering if the film wouldn't have been even stronger by anchoring the plot more firmly in the unique culture and cityscape of HK.

The one truly great thing about IA, however, would be that the film's stunning box-office success with local audiences most likely suggests that the reign of the romance comedy genre may finally be over, and who could argue that's not a good thing...

Reviewed by: xiaoka
Date: 02/16/2003
Summary: definitely a good one

one of the better in this genre that i've seen. I liked "Running out of Time" but I think this one might even be better, the story was a bit more complex, the game between Andy and Tony to reveal who the undercover is. I watched the mandarin dubbed version, so I don't know if the ending is different then the cantonese version, but this one ended pretty well (not necessarily 'happily'... but you wouldn't expect a happy ending out of this kind of film).

Definitely worth seeing. Filmed very well, good production values too.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Souxie
Date: 01/18/2003
Summary: Mou gaan dou - very cool, very good!

OK, I waited about four weeks for this movie, and then almost missed it at the cinema - every time I tried to get in it was sold out!
But it was worth the wait - well put together, well constructed and smoothly done by everyone. The usually harmless Eric Tsang was actually quite menacing, Andy Lau Tak-Wa actually acted rather than cruised on his charm and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai stole the film. Fantastic.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, there were a few light moments, and questions raised about the principal characters past experiences to make them seem more credible. (Without spoiling anything, the packed-out cinema laughed when Andy Lau pulled out a bottle of tea in the police room - just happened to be the tea he endorses...)
I won't give away the ending, but I was angry that I thought the wrong person won. But then it depends on who you think is the good or the bad guy, and whether good guys have to lose to win in the end.


Very good, will buy the DVD asap. My only gripe is that they maybe should have used Andy Lau and Tony Leung to play themselves as younger selves, rather than got Edison Chen Gwun-Hei and Shaun Yu Man-Lok to step in for 5 minutes.
9.9 / 10

Reviewer Score: 9