‘Infernal Affairs’ is the 2002 film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. Screenwriters were Alan Mak and Felix Chong.
Think of it as a remake of Hard Boiled with a twist. Chan Wing-yan is a deep undercover cop working for the mob or triad. Tony Leung plays a different version of Tony/Alan. Chan is more emotional unstable. He’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
It’s a mini reunion with Hard Boiled co-star Anthony Wong. Instead of triad boss, he’s Superintendent Wong Chi-shing. Eric Tsang plays the big bad Hon Sam. Superintendent Wong and Triad boss Hon have been trying to destroy each other for years.
Chan is Wong’s mole in the triad. Senior Inspector Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau) is Hon’s mole in the police. The cat and mouse game gets complicated. They struggle to stay alive while trying to blow each other’s cover. Both men were put in their roles while in their 20s. An entire career spent being someone else.
Chan and Lau were in the same class at police academy. Chan didn’t graduate. He was expelled for breaking the rules. They ran into each other on the streets afterwards. A decade later there’s a chance encounter. Soon the existence of Wong and Hon’s spies becomes known to their respective organizations. Both groups try to limit access to crucial Intel while searching for this person.
Using flowers as a delivery system was dropped. Though a flower shop appears onscreen. They may have used the place from Hard Boiled. The written coded messages were replaced with Morse code. To everyone around him, Chan has the nervous habit of tapping his fingers.
Mary, Lau's girlfriend (Sammi Cheng) is an author. Her latest book depicts a man with multiple personalities. Every day he could wake up as someone else. He worries about losing his identity. The fictional character mirrors Lau’s emotional journey throughout the film.
Chan and Lau team up then turn against each other. Who will be redeemed and who will fall?
The good: The plot, dialogue and cinematography. You’ll find yourself rooting for Chan and Lau. Just when you think you know what will happen the movie throws a curveball. Remade as America's film The Departed.
Outstanding chemistry between the male leads of Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang. The multiple love interests aren’t there for show. They have a purpose.
Chan paying respect to the police academy principal. His death leaves Wong the only person who knows Chan’s true identity. Chapman To was great as Crazy Keung. Loved his character’s wisdom. If you see someone watching you but pretending to do something else, they’re a cop. He’s paranoid and convinced cops are everywhere.
The bad: Not enough head butting between Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang.
The ugly: Not two hours.
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