Infernal Affairs (Blu-ray)
Many of you might know INFERNAL AFFAIRS as the Hong Kong film that inspired THE DEPARTED. If not, just pick up the Blu-ray and you will see that information advertised on the cover box nearly as big as the title. I am not one for remaking films unless you can do it different and better. So to compliment INFERNAL AFFAIRS, the basic concept and script are so good with such great potential that it would eventually be made to near perfection by Martin Scorsese in THE DEPARTED.
Crime boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang) has raised a handful of young men in hopes of them infiltrating the police department. One such man, Inspector Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), has rapidly moved up the ranks and has become so respected that he has been given the position to find himself – the bad guy mole posing as a good guy. The police force has also gone to great lengths in getting one of their own men Chen Wing Yan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) into the inner circle of Sam’s gang – a good guy mole posing as a bad guy. The two men are moles for the opposite team and must go to great lengths to discover each other’s identity before they are found out.
It’s tough not to draw comparisons or mention 2006’s Best Picture winner THE DEPARTED when reviewing INFERNAL AFFAIRS. So I apologize in advance and will do my best to keep my comparisons to a minimum. The biggest problem for the film is that it never allows anytime to breath. Most of the tactics used in this spy vs. spy type suspense drama are incredibly inventive but the director doesn’t seem proud of it as he cuts away too quickly rather than let the audience process and enjoy what is happening. Jumping quickly from one scene to the next, the editing prevents the audience from ever getting attached to the characters. Not completely void of all human emotion, the film tries to force feed dramatic relationship scenes. When SP Wong Chi Shing (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang), the one man who knows of Yan’s existence, is killed an out of place musical ballad is played as Yan reflects through flashbacks of the two’s relationship, which consists of passing secret information. The one scene of hokiness is enough to distract from the entire picture.
The film also short-changed the relationship with the women in our two leads lives. Yan has an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t seen in six years that has one scene and he has a trusty psychiatrist that has only two scenes. Lau has a fiancé who seems to be quite pivotal in his moral struggle but again not enough screen time to reach any emotional attachment to these characters. That type of weight for our two competing leads in Yan and Lau is invaluable for understanding the stress and difficulty they must be going through. Forgive me, but that is exactly where THE DEPARTED slingshots past INFERNAL AFFAIRS. Matt Damon and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio get the opportunity to use every ounce of energy in their performance. While Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai do an excellent job, the script never demands quite as much as their characters deserve.
The script is smart and original but while INFERNAL AFFAIRS is a very good movie, the film has been done better in THE DEPARTED. However for anyone who loves film or any producers and directors out there looking to remake a film, watching both films is a great lesson on how to make a good film great.
Video: (1080P HD 16×9 Widescreen 2.35:1) A decent picture that does look a bit more polished.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio is solid, although some of the music choices are questionable.
The Making of Infernal Affairs (15:21): “Our performance is near perfect.” This humble gem along with a lot of good vs. evil discussion from the cast makes up half the featurette. The other half is footage from the film.
Confidential Files: Behind-the-Scenes Look at Infernal Affairs (6:04): A montage of several scenes being filmed behind the cameras and some of the goofing around on set played to music.
Alternate Ending (2:54): This is a very different outcome that seems a little forced for a happier ending.
Trailers: Original, International and others.