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  • Infernal Affairs [Import]
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Infernal Affairs [Import]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen
  • Directors: Alan Mak, Wai-Keung Lau
  • Writers: Alan Mak, Felix Chong
  • Producers: Wai-Keung Lau, Ellen Chang, Elos Gallo, Lorraine Ho
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, Thai
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Miramax
  • Release Date: Dec 7 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JN7C

Product Description

Product Description

Infernal Affairs (Wu Jian Dao)

With Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong filmmakers Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak have successfully taken a smart script and a great cast, added some stylistic cinematography, and dual-fistedly given a new twist to a formulaic genre. Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), a young, loyal gangster, is ordered by his Triad boss Sam (Eric Tsang) to join the police force. While on the inside the young mole can keep a close eye on police activity, ensuring the gang's activities will not be interrupted. Police Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) has a similar plan. He takes a bright, ambitious police cadet Yan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and makes him an undercover cop with plans to get him inside the Triads. Years pass and both are now deep into their assigned roles. Undercover cop Yan, more or less living the life of a gangster, is now a member of Boss Sam's group, and "Officer" Lau has all the appearance of a good cop trying to bust up the Triads' drug ring. During a bust that could finally bring down Boss Sam, the moles inadvertently become aware of each other's existence, and each is left wondering who is on the inside. What follows is a unique and exciting twist on the classic cat and mouse chase in which each man is not fighting for his life, but for his anonymity. In addition to its plot twists, what lifts Infernal Affairs above the standard cop story is its subtle exploration of the relative nature of good and evil. Part action, part psychological examination, Infernal Affairs is a sharp and fresh take on the classic crime story, and the inspiration for a 2006 Martin Scorsese remake (The Departed). Not to be missed. --Rob Bracco

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 15 2009
Format: DVD
The story itself is brilliant with one mole in an Hong Kong Triad and another in the HK police force. The acting is first-rate and the shots of HK are grandiose (especially the rooftop scenes with that harbour in the background).

The extras are quite good (all in Cantonese w/ English subtitles as the movie is also) with a "making of" that gives us a greater appreciation for the actors. The behind the scenes extra is just raw sound and shots of the celebration banquet (wrap party) with one wild-looking Buddhist tradition involving a Buddhist priest who's a fireeater (just watch and you'll see what I'm talking about).

The cover is hilariously misleading as that hot chick is not really the focus of the story nor does she use a gun or pose that way in the movie. Still, if it'll sell the movie to Western audiences, I'm all for it as this is the type of cop/crime story the West never gets right and HK seems to because they understand both sides of the good/evil dichotomy better than most.
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By S. Lavigne on Aug. 28 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A triad thriller movie, that this is less about action scenes (and multiple-way gun shooting) and more about the story. The direction is superb and refreshing when compared to American standards for similar movies.

As mentioned by a previous reviewer, don't be mislead by the DVD cover. You will not find any cold hearted temptress in this movie. As a matter of fact, there isn't any significant female character. Not that it matters, and in the end it's still a very nice picture (oh, and a very good movie as well...).
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
My husband loves the Infernal Affairs series and I bought him this for father's day. This version was much cheaper than others I have seen. I like the departed better but don't tell him that!
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By frosty on Dec 26 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Worth the money. Surprisingly good! No, great!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 122 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Infernal Affairs and The Departed: Compare and Contrast Dec 7 2006
By Victor Schwartzman - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are some very good reviews already posted about "Infernal Affairs", although they got some minor facts wrong (such as which actor played which role). This review will look at differences between this film and "The Departed"--for Scorsese fans who enjoyed his version and now wonder if they should see the original.

Yes, they should see the original.

Scorsese did a remake which followed the original storyline closely. Scorsese's style, as always, is marvelous. His work is more controlled than usual--no digressions into extended violent scenes (as in Casino, although "The Departed" film is much more violent than "Infernal Affairs"), no plot diversions into draft riots during the Civil War...etc.

However, the Scorsese film--which I enjoyed and was his best film in years--left me unsatisfied, while "Infernal Affairs" was extremely satisfying. Both films are tragedies, but the drama is far more deeply felt (for me) in "Infernal Affairs" than in "The Departed".


The answer lies in the difference in approach between the film making cultures of Hong Kong and Hollywood. Between what each culture feels the audience wants. Between the pressures of a higher budget and bigger stars. Scorsese, whether the actors asked for it or not, clearly felt a need to give the principal actors meatier roles. The film brothers who made the Hong Kong original only wanted to get the job done--a crisp story that did what it needed to, and then got out.

The Hollywood version takes a lot of time to provide additional detail to the story to flesh out the characters and give them showy scenes. "The Departed" runs about forty minutes longer than "Infernal Affairs". It adds a love interest (which really goes nowhere) and a lot of character details. Probably worse...


...the Scorsese film attempts "justice" at the end. It is perhaps an American need to tie up loose ends, to make things right. Maybe it is the pressure stemming from a bigger budget, and needing to satisfy a larger audience. But dramatically, the Hong Kong version had it much better.


In the Scorsese version, an additional character, played by Mark Whalberg, is added to create justice--someone, in the end, to bump off the Matt Damon character. The problem with this is dual. First, it creates a huge plot hole--if Whalberg is around, then there is someone to prove that the DiCaprio character is really a cop, so much of how the film ends simply makes no sense at all. DiCaprio does not need to get Damon to prove he is an undercover cop if Whalberg is around. And, why does Whalberg remain in the background instead of going directly to his superiors? Why does DiCaprio not seek out Whalberg?

No, sorry Marty. None of it really works. Whalberg is only there to kill Damon in the end.

But this is very misguided. I personally felt a lot of involvement with the DiCaprio character. When the bad stuff happened to him, I felt the tragedy, but when Whalberg bumps off Damon, I felt cheated.

If the movie was going after justice, why not just have an ending with DiCaprio living? But this is the big budget American idea of entertainment, I guess--a more or less happy ending, even if it completely screws up the story.

So while I enjoyed the film, I walked out unsatisfied.

Then I watched, a few days ago, the Chinese original. The ending is far more cynical, and as a result works a lot better. There is no Whalberg character, no big plot hole. In addition, the film was faster and cleaner, much less showy. No bigger role for Nicholson to strut his stuff. No extraneous love interest. Not as much explicit violence to give the audience a cheap thrill.

Less Hollywood over the top and pandering to the audience was what makes "Infernal Affairs" the superior film--and one worth buying, as you'll never see it on tv.

Oh well, guess this means Scorsese will send Joe Pesci after me!
67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Tension Rises Very High: Magnificinet Hong Kong Noir Feb. 7 2005
By Tsuyoshi - Published on
Format: DVD
'Infernal Affairs' is the biggest box-office hit in Hong Kong in 2002, and if you see it, you won't be surprised with that fact. The film's premises are very simple; it's about a cop who is actually a gangster, and a gangster who is really a cop. With this clever version of 'undercover' theme (that was previously seen in the films like 'Donnie Brasco'), 'Infernal Affairs' presents as much tension and humanity as was seen in that Johnny Depp/Al Pacino film.

Ming (Andy Lau, 'House of Flying Daggers') is a young mole in the Honk Kong police, whose real boss is Sam, head of the Triads. He has been in police force for nearly ten years, and starts to doubt his life while faithfully swears his loyality to Sam.

At the same time, Yan (Tony Leung, 'In the Mood for Love') is an undercover cop, who has been in Sam's Triad for ten years. His superior officer Wong (Anthony Wong) is the only one who knows his real identity in the police, and Yan is also getting fed up with the life based on lies.

As the poilce force confronts the Triads, both Ming and Yan attempt to help their side anticipate the moves of the other. Finally, both sides realize that there are moles among them, and investigations and revenges make these characters lives more complex and unbearable.

DO NOT EXPECT the martial arts or so-called actions. This is a noir, and that means that it is the characters that matter, or their lives. I know, though the story is simple, it needs leap of faith. But the portraits of the people, and the pains of keeping on pretending what they are not, are vividly presented that the audiences will be sucked into the turmoil of their emotions. And the results are often nerve-shattering.

ANd the acting is all top-notch. I hear the talk of Hollywood remakes, which, I am afraid, is a tough work to do. Lau and Leung are both perfect, but more fantastic are Anthony Wong as police inspector and Eric Tsang as Triad boss. Their performances are so magnificient, even sublime at times, that you will stop caring which side would ultimately win.

Helped greatly by the moody camera (Andrew Lau and Lai Yiu Fai & 'visual consultant' Christopher Doyle, 'Rabbit Proof Fence'), 'Infernal Affairs' tells you that without John Woo Hong Kong movie industry can still produce excellent films with a touch of reality.

'Infernal Affairs' is part of trilogy, and you will see 'IA II' and 'IA III' sooner or later. 'Infernal Affairs' is the one you are watching now; 'Infernal Affairs II' is a prequel to it; and 'Infernal Affairs III' is a sequel to the original. But remember, the series is not the usual Hollywood commercial tactics to cash in on the hit movie, for some say '2' is better than the original. That's the only reason I don't give 5 stars, which 'Infernal Affairs' certainly deserves.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Amazing! End of story. May 12 2006
By Shaun M. - Published on
Format: DVD
Infernal Affairs begins as young police cadet named Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung) is being groomed by the highest ranks of the Academy to eventually become an inside man for the police. His keen eye and steady dimeaner makes him the perfect candidate to infiltrate the Triads, who have taken control of Hong Kong's streets and are peddling massive amounts of drugs to it's citizens. At the same time, a different road is laid out for fellow Academy officer Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau). Although we aren't witness to the actual path he takes, Ming becomes Yan's counterpart in the film, as he uses his position within the higher ranks of the police department to keep Triad Boss Sam a step ahead of any police actions. Sam is deftly played by Eric Tsang, who gives a highly effective, authentic performance here. What follows is one of the best table-turning, catch-me-if-you-can cop stories ever put to film.

Often compared with another great epic, Heat, Infernal Affairs is quicker, brighter and goes down in 40 minute less time. It's apparent why this film became a smashing success in Asia and in turn, exploded onto the world scene. Spawning a sequel (which is actually a prequel) and then a third installment.

Returning to the story; Yan, after leaving the Academy and subsequently earning his chops

on the street as a Triad footman for 10 years, becomes a member deep in Sam's inner circle. Yan continues to work directly and exclusively with Superintendent Wong (played by Anthony Wong) feeding him information that Wong puts to good use. He brings that information to his most elite police team led by Officer Ming, who unbeknownst to Wong, relays it back to the Triads. Ming showcases his moxie and stealth inside an active command center, feeding police channels and locations to Sam in real-time, within five feet of fellow officers. Yan, at the same time, finds a way to keep Wong informed. A brilliantly scripted Felix Chong & Siu Fai Mak screenplay lends weight, tension and gravity to even the simplest scenes. Finally, Wong is able to get Sam brought in to be interviewed, but by that time, they both know that each has an undercover man inside their particular camps. In a Pacino/DeNiro-esque face-off, Wong and Sam smugly challenge each other to find their respective moles. The rest of the film is yours to enjoy.

One aspect of this film that gets as much attention and kudos as the characters themselves

is Chan Kwong Wing's stellar, powerful, moody soundtrack. The original score begins the

film along with sweeping, abstract visuals that flow gracefully across the screen, accompanied by the undulating score. What stuck with me in particular (as a first time listener to his work) was the alternately light, then heavy drum tracks as they scurried from front to back, left to right, left-rear to right-rear and diagonally back; washing the entire room with energy and life. The mood shifted from forceful grandeur to intricate suspicion and back again. The perfect audio preview to what was to follow. Deep inside the film is a heart-wrenching female vocal track that seems to signal the true beginning to Yan and Ming's respective gambits toward finding out each another, and when she sings again, yet another chapter begins to take shape. It's brilliant in depth and scope. Never a track out of step with the film and only the most appropriate volume and energy. So rarely does a soundtrack fall into line and dance so well with a film. So rarely does one set the tone for a film.

Infernal Affairs is loaded with subterfuge and intrigue. We're privy to both sides of the proverbial infiltration equation from the start, but this formula gets more complex with near misses and natural character evolutions, even as the story itself appears to begin it's resolution. At least that's what I found. There is a touch generic cop vs. cop to it (if I must find a flaw), with a couple classic stand-offs, but very little mano a mano conflict. The film's confrontations are wholly group against group; good against bad. That can't be ignored. The beauty of the film is in the interaction. It has all of the elements of many crime dramas, but Infernal Affairs is genuine and sophisticated like none other.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A movie you want to tell people about! Dec 26 2004
By M J Heilbron Jr. - Published on
Format: DVD
This is one of those movies you want to tell people about, coming from someone who's not really a Hong Kong film aficionado.

It has a simple but ingenious plot, first-rate acting, nice dollops of suspense and gunplay and a satisfying ending.

Simply put, a Triad boss places a young, up-and-coming gangster in the police academy to become a mole. Simultaneously, the police pull an up-and-coming cadet OUT of school, to become a Triad mole.

Ten years later, both moles still exist, and are entrusted by their respective bosses to, bluntly, find themselves.

The two scenes where the good guys and the bad guys dizzily interlace during attempted crimes are real good as anything I've seen in years.

You can't watch this film and NOT think of Michael Mann's "Heat"...the cinematography, the urban gun fights, the two mercurial leads...and the rumors of a Scorsese remake only add to my fascination with this movie.

The thing keeping this from a five-star experience is that there are a few peripheral characters that feel like they should be more important, but they're not. There were a few characters who appear once or twice, but are all given these meaningful shots at the film's conclusion...

Maybe if I had seen more HK cinema, I would understand more...but I'll tell you, this is a great movie period, whether you think you like "foreign films" or not.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Don't let the goofy title fool you. It's a great flick. March 25 2006
By T. Williams - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I decided to check out Infernal Affairs after it got a lot of positive word of mouth at the Denver International Film Festival a couple years ago. I was not disappointed. The storyline is immediately engaging, as the police and a major crime gang each place an undercover member into the opposing organization. From that point on, the groups race against each other to find the mole that has infiltrated their ranks. The storyline's twists and turns keep the viewer guessing until the very end. The movie is fast-paced and suspenseful throughout.

Martin Scorsese is currently shooting a remake of this film. The American version will be called The Departed. I question whether a remake is necessary, since Infernal Affairs easily stands on its own, and as it is it should be accessible to American audiences. However, since Scorsese always puts his own stamp on his works, I'm eager to see his take on this fascinating thriller.