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無間道II (2003)
Infernal Affairs II

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 02/24/2011
Summary: only the good die young...

with lau (edison chen) joining the police and starting his rise through the ranks and chan (shawn yu) being turfed out of the police, to begin his life as a mole in the triads, the world they are entering in to is given some flesh. on one hand we have sp wong (anthony wong) and sp luk (hu jun) fighting the triads, with dirty tricks. on the other hand we have ngai (francis ng), sam's (eric tsang) boss and chan's half brother, attempting to maintain power after his father is murdered...

so, yep, a sequel that's a prequel. now, i have quite fond memories of this film, having seen it a while after the first one and being quite happy that it focussed on wong, ng and tsang. that's no bad thing and it keeps the spotlight off shawn yu, who does a reasonable job and glorified coat hanger, edison chen, who is hardly present. unfortunately, watching this with the first film fresh in my mind has probably ruined it for me.

basically, the attempts to build up the characters, who we were introduced to in the first film, backfires in a spectacular fashion and they manufacture a set of people who bear very little relation to those who feature in the first film. sam is set up as someone who would never let chan get close to him, then there's the chan / wong dynamic, which is almost stretched to breaking point and is left looking like it would never evolve into what we know it does. the only character who maintains any kind of consistency is lau and this is only due to the fact that he's in it so little that he doesn't get the chance to.

any hoo, disregarding what a stupid attempt at a prequel this is and looking at it as a standalone piece, what you have is a pretty solid, entertaining film. it's less polished than the first film, in terms of narrative, and it seems to be trying to make itself seem more epic than it is, with some unnecessary cinematographic masturbation, but it is still a well played out, very watchable affair.

so, a dreadful prequel, but good as an entity in its own right.

Reviewed by: Chinoco
Date: 08/27/2006
Summary: The Best Of the Series!

IF2 is in my opinion, the best in the series. Francis Ng, Anthony Wong, and Eric Tsang are all great.

IF2 is a prequel, and the plot is about the Ngai crime family headed by Francis Ng. Being a prequel, the story deals with characters origins, and events that shaped them into the people we see in the first movie. Even though Andy Lau and Tony Leung are not in the film, somewhat surprisingly, I found it to be superior to the first one. Edison Chen and Shawn Yu portray the Lau and Leung parts respectively. They don't really do much though (which is a good thing) and much of the story features Ng, Wong, and Tsang.

There are no real good guys in the film, as even the cops headed by Wong commit criminal actions such as organizing a murder to shake up the Triads. Francis Ng's Triad leader is especially ruthless, as he appears friendly to partners and rivals, and then systematically eliminates them one by one. His excellent acting range is on display as he plays a calm, calculating gangster- much different from some of his wacky, or over the top maniac roles.

With all the betrayals, backstabbing, and infiltration, no character is safe! Much of the movie plays out like a chess match, and when the action does happen it hits with a bang, and is brutally shocking. The directing, cinematography, and score are all top-notch and this is a movie that I keep coming back for multiple viewings.

If you compare this film with the first, then there are some unrealistic plot inconsistencies. Some things make for a very big reach to say the least, and other things simply make no sense at all. I prefer to ignore it however, and look at the film as a stand alone movie. Overall I would say that IF1 was very good, IF2 is outstanding, and IF3 was a major disappointment.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 12/26/2005
Summary: fine piece of storytelling.

Sequel to 2002's best movie, this is just one fine piece of storytelling; an exquisitely crafted film that has deeper resonance through its outstanding predecessor. Directors Alan Mak and Andrew Lau continue to lead the way among peers and colleagues.
The stellar cast is stupendous; two fine actors stand out. Francis Ng gives an brilliant, understated performance while Eric Tsang's performance is chillingly mesmerizing. I loved it!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/27/2004
Summary: Agree with Paul about "THE GODFATHER" scenes

This is a good movie, by it's own right, but like many movies, is not as good as the original.

The way the scenery are put and the way they act and dress feels more like the life of italian mafia than chinese triad. There are other things that i agree with Paul with, in terms of unbelieveablity, but overall the movie stands well

The actors all do well, even though the younger actors (Edison and Shawn) look liked emotionless zombies, but i think it's just part of the script...........i hope!!

Francis Ng and Anthony Wong are out standing in this film, Eric Tsang shows what versatility he has (remember in the 1980's he use to the butt of all jokes in his comedy roles!!) and the under rated Roy Cheung who only has a little bit of screen time. Carina Lau breezes through her role.

Three quarters of the movie the movie does slow down but that is a minor in this good movie


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 08/22/2004
Summary: I beg to differ

Well after reading the earlier 2 reviews I feel like I must be more vocal on my review than I originally planned. Let me first say that I usually agree with the other 2 reviewers but not this time.
This was not a bad film, so before I address my problems I'll first give some praise. Francis Ng was incredible in this movie. One of the best performances I have ever seen. Carina Lau was also excellent. Actually pretty much great performances throughout. Unlike the first film, this one gave time to the side stories in a much more adequate fashion. I felt the first half of the movie was well paced, smart & provoking. Then came the second half.
The movie turned into a bootleg version of the Godfather Pt.II. They even played the theme music! They somehow managed to take the edge off Sam's character that he gained in the first film. Then there was Anthony Wong's character. Mr. Wong is one of my all-time favorite actors but the scene of the car fire(dont want to give away any plot) was horrible, unrealistic overacting. On top of that, it makes no sense that Yan would be so close to SP Wong in the future following the events of this film. There were other plot holes but they were minor so i wont get into them. The mother of Yan's child in Part 1 shows up here for about 1 minute. I'm hoping to see more of her in part 3. Overall, a good movie, but one that seemed to lose focus in the second half. Definatly not better than part 1 IMO.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 12/18/2003
Summary: Big, Splashy Follow Up

"Infernal Affairs II" is a big, splashy follow up to last year’s "Infernal Affairs." The sequel is actually a prequel to establish the relationships and pecking order of the police and the triad factions that were portrayed in the first film. The movie’s success can easily be attributed to Alan Mak and Felix Chong for a screenplay that is brutal and full of double-dealings. The characters, Yan and Ming, take a back seat to Inspector Wong and triad members Sam and Ngai.

"Infernal Affairs II" is a vastly entertaining yarn that places Shawn Yu and Edisen Chen in the background and leaves the dynamic center around Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang and Francis Ng. Where the first film emphasized a sophisticated outlook between the police and the triads, IA2 is grittier, as a triad head is assassinated, creating a vacuum that causes a power struggle to ensue among the remaining leaders. Mak and Chong take the themes of moles and undercover agents to another plateau by making the police and the triads similar in their deceit and vileness. The lines are further blurred in terms of good and bad. Only the dark shades of each are displayed. Everyone in this prequel is evil.

Although a prequel, "Infernal Affairs II" can be viewed independently from the first movie without any problems. If you watch the films in sequence, the discrepancies are obvious and annoying, but the entertainment factor outweighs the rough and troubling transition issues. The script is so dense that many of the continuity problems are lost in the shuffle. Surprisingly, even with minimal dialogue, there is a lot said, but nothing is implicit, because each action creates an even more disturbing and deadly reaction. Andrew Lau and Alan Mak direct the movie with breakneck pacing. "Infernal Affairs II" is a worthy addition that merits viewing.

Reviewed by: MinayUK
Date: 12/17/2003
Summary: One of the Best Prequels ever

Why the hell hasnt anyone reviewed this movie yet? This isnt just the central part of one of the biggest trilogies in Hong Kong film history, but one of the greatest trilogies potentially of all time irrespective of genre!

Bold statement I know, but even I was taken aback by the quality of this film. I mean making a sequel is hard, but making prequels is often disasterous. We all remember Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace? And the pointlessness of Back To The Future Part III, while we could also see the Once Upon A Time in China Saga begin to lose focus by part 3. On the plus side the greatest prequel movie had to be the Godfather Part 2 which thankfully shares a lot in common with Infernal Affairs 2.

Now I dont want to spoil the plot & everyone who has seen the first film will be aware of how this movie basically creates a back story for all of the characters present in the original blah blah blah. Upon initial reflection this isn't the hardest thing in the world to do, there have been plenty of Cop/Triad movies before, so I really thought Infernal Affairs 3 would be the real event and this was just Media Asia cashing in. What I didnt however expect was the inclusion of characters not present in the first film that hold their own & our favourite Triad-boss Sam & Officer Wong being in complete role reversals. The first movie was effectively a good vs bad picture, the prequel blurs the line between good and evil for all characters so that we can never really watch the 1st film again in quite the same way.

The screenplay is exceedingly intricate and although it stretches reality in some respects this really is writing at its best, which does not dumb it down for the audience. Making a bold statement to the world that Hong Kong film making is no longer just kung fu & john woo (although of course it never was).

Cinematography is I would say better than the original. Yes you heard me correctly, better. Longer swooping shots that are crisp frame to frame. Emphasis added periodically by a very moving film soundtrack that oozes emotion.

Ok, here's the really interesting bit, while Tony Leung & Andy Lau were centre stage in the first film, the prequel does not dwell on their characters so much and rather Francis Ng, Anthony Wong & Eric Tsang fill up a hell of a lot of screen time. This works unbelievably well as these guys are the Hong Kong acting elite and OH MY GOD do they all shine here. Especially Eric Tsang who really deserves a win at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his performance. Having said that Francis Ng is great too, although there was a scary similarity between him and Al Pacino in the Godfather Part 2, but still he really was excellent. Note the scene where Anthony Wong tries to provoke him by celebrating the death of his father and Ng just looks at him with these eyes! Burning hot eyes, wiping a solitary tear away with one hand. Now thats acting.

The big point I suppose is how do Edison Chen & Shawn Yu do in Tony & Andy's shoes? The answer is that it simply does not matter, their roles are less important to a lot of the action than the others, so thankfully the classic characters of the original Infernal Affairs do not seem bastardised in anyway.

Im not a big fan of Edison, Gen Y Cops tainted him in my eyes forever, but even he has his moments, even though the script gives him less lines than Shawn Yu, who does an ok job at looking troubled through most of the film.

I suppose final judgement on the trilogy can only be made after we have seen part 3, and I am yet to do this. interestingly, the films focus on time being infinite and folding back on itself and part 3 should be even more ambitious as it gives us the future post 1997 Hong Kong and a weird past in which Anthony Wong & Sam are still alive.

But to be honest I am more than impressed with this prequel, it was way above my expectations and my only real gripe is that Andrew Lin (bad guy from Naked Weapon) gets an uncredited line-less role as a member of the Ngai household! Hello! this guy is a very funny actor, the Black Sheep Affair is testament to his on screen charisma, I really would like to know who cast him as an extra in Infernal Affairs 2. Help someone who knows ?

Reviewed by: Ryan
Date: 09/30/2003
Summary: 《無間道Ⅱ》──電影的一個傳奇