image courtesy of www.sensasian.com
AKA: Internal Affairs
This DVD is available for purchase at www.sensasian.com
Tony Leung. Image courtesy of Media Asia.
Thank God, finally a new HK movie that doesn't star an annoying teenage singer or have lots of cheesy CGI effects. Though there isn't too much gunplay for the action fanatics out there, Infernal Affairs offers up something pretty rare in HK movies nowadays; a tight story delivered with solid acting. And at this point, I'm much more willing to take that rather than yet another bad John Woo ripoff or 90-minute music video.
Infernal Affairs puts two of HK's biggest stars on the opposite sides of the law. Tony Leung is an undercover cop who has been in too long trying to put away a drug dealer (Eric Tsang), while Andy Lau is a Triad mole in the police force. Their worlds intercede when Andy is promoted to the internal affairs department to investigate Tsang's case.
Andy Lau. Image courtesy of Media Asia.
While it's not the most mind-blowing plot in the world, it is a pretty cool premise, and the script keeps things moving along by adding enough twists to keep things interesting, but not so much to overwhelm the viewer. There's a thankful lack of big romantic subplots or comic relief. The film keeps its' focus primarily on the two main characters, and it works much better for it. Propelled by above-average work from the actors involved (hell, any movie where you don't want to punch Andy Lau in the mouth is a success for him), Infernal Affairs manages to transcend the "style above substance" trap that has befallen many recent movies from both sides of the ocean.
In a year when the HK film scene was seemingly dominated by dopey romantic comedies and cheesy ghost stories, Infernal Affairs comes in like a breath of fresh air. It has glimmers of hope from the classics of years past, when good acting, rather than looking good while acting, was encouraged. And though it probably had more to do with the star power rather than the way the movie was put together, Infernal Affairs was one of the few true hits at the HK box office last year -- hopefully this success will encourage more film-makers to do movies of this type in the coming year. I really don't know how many more silly pictures featuring marginally talented pop singers audiences will stand before they leave in droves.
Anthony Wong. Image courtesy of Media Asia.