For last month’s Genre Grandeur at MovieRob’s site, I revisited Infernal Affairs and showed how I have very deep appreciation for that one. You can check it out HERE! That brought on my desire to continue watching the trilogy. So thats what we’re going to do for the next few days 🙂 I believe Infernal Affairs 2 & 3 are not very popular outside of Hong Kong. I’m not even sure if they were popular within Hong Kong. But it is in fact a trilogy and therefore, it just seems right to finish it off in style.
**A word of advice: If you HAVE NOT seen the first one, you might want to check it out before blindly moving into the following two.**
Let’s check it out!
Director: Wai-Keung Lau & Alan Mak
Cast: Eric Tsang, Anthony Wong, Carina Lau, Francis Ng, Shawn Yue, Edison Chen, Jun Hu
Rewinding back 12 years before the events of Infernal Affairs, Yan (Shawn Yue) is expelled from the police academy due to his family background. Despite wanting to distance himself, to the point of using his mom’s last name, it still caused him have that result. However, all is not lost, Superintendant Wong (Anthony Wong) offers him a chance to be an undercover and try to get involved with his family after the sudden murder of his father by helping out his half brother, Hau (Francis Ng). On the other hand, Sam (Eric Tsang) has sent in Ming (Edison Chen) to be the mole at the police department without knowing that his wife Mary (Carina Lau) had secretly asked him to take out Ngai, the big boss of the triad and also Hau’s father. As both the police and triad have been infiltrated with each other’s men, how long could their secrets be locked up?
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. We all climb towards heaven. We all fall towards hell. – Infernal Affairs 2
Infernal Affairs 2 starts with that quote up there before anything happens. As the scene rolls in, it lets you know right away that we’ve turned back time to see how young Yan (Shawn Yue) and young Ming (Edison Chen) got to where they were in the first part. All these events correlate in a certain way and if you paid enough attention in the first one, you’ll see the links. I thought that was very well pieced together.
Although, Shawn and Edison are both rather green actors when this movie came out, they were surrounded by a stellar cast. Before I go and talk about the rest of the cast, I do believe that I think, despite them not having a whole lot of screen time (surprising for the purpose of this movie), their roles were enforced enough to make the story strong enough to make us understand how the events had spiraled into Infernal Affairs. In the first one, even the grown up Yan and Ming are not particularly talkative but more analytical and therefore, they didn’t have much dialogue either. Many times, silence can enhance the atmosphere of a movie, especially ones that keeps the audience guessing. I honestly think this was just to mask their lack of ability to act but it kind of did work decently.
In the first Infernal Affairs, I already talked about the awesomeness with Eric Tsang as Sam and Anthony Wong as SP Wong. So I’m not going to be back to that. With these two, the quality is always almost insured (at least I can’t remember anything bad from then right now). However, the role of same did change a little as did their chemistry. So I’m going to talk about Francis Ng, who plays the calm businessman type of triad leader Hau (some would compare him to Michael Corleone). He has a silent violent personality which we don’t quite see till the finale. He knows how to get dirt on the people around him as he has eyes everywhere. His story is the one that causes all the effects here by means creating subplots. So in this one, the chemistry between Anthony Wong’s SP Wong and his are the ones that spark some intense chemistry.
Another person worth mentioning is Carina Lau who plays Mary, the beautiful soft-spoken wife of Sam. Her main goal is to help her husband move up from where he is and one day be the boss and not the minion to protect him. With the help of young Ming, who she brought into the triad business, he has a certain dedication to her. Her character is actually quite honorable and by far, one of my favorite roles that she’s been in. Don’t get me wrong, Carina Lau is a wonderful actress and I’ve seen her across many genres but this role was really impressive. The chemistry between her character Mary with Sam are limited as they have very little screen time together but in turn, we see her true colors in her interactions with the Young Ming.
This is the second time I’m watching Infernal Affairs 2. I watched this back in 2004 or so after the trilogy had been released. Back then, I found this pretty good. This time around, I found it still pretty good because it creates a nice vibe even though the purpose of the movie promoted wasn’t exactly what really happened as the focus was not on young Ming and Yan but rather on the people around them. However, it starts feeling really long when I started realizing how many subplots they had stuff in it. I’m not saying its not necessary but at a certain point, it feels like it drags a little before it hits the big finale and things pick up a little again.
Overall, Infernal Affairs is worth a watch. It gives some stellar performances and it does set up the partial backstage for what does happen in Infernal Affairs. The audience gets an idea as to not only where young Ming and Yan come from but also the people around them who influenced them more in depth especially SP Wong, Sam and the additional characters with Ngai and Mary. Although the length is my biggest complaint, this one is worth a watch. It sets up the stage for maybe the anticipation of the third movie.
Have you seen Infernal Affairs 2? Are you familiar with the actors/actresses in this one?