Starting from the police cadet school, two trainees take strikingly different paths in life. Chan Wing Yang is recruited by Police Superintendent Wong to become a mole within a criminal triad society. The other, Lau Kin Ming ends up being recruited by criminal boss Hon Sam as a mole for the triad. A web of deceit is weaved as the two sides come to a head.
The Hong Kong film industry has always had a huge fascination with the police. Cue a convoluted plot of smoke and mirrors you’ll get Infernal Affairs. While the film boasts an impressive cast of actors such as Andy Lau and Tony Leung, the movie fell flat for me. Ranging from flaws like forced relationships to poor audio quality, the movie’s merits seem to be limited to Tony Leung’s suave looks.
Firstly, the plot was generic. Growing up in a Chinese household, such police centered shows were a staple. The movie didn’t win me over with its supposed “surprise” twists. None of the scenes were particularly exhilarating. Particularly during the scene where one of the moles were at risk of being found, the movie didn’t create enough suspense to warrant any fear. That and that there was an hour to the shows ending so the protagonist had immunity.
Secondly, I could not care less about the film’s characters. The introduction to our two main protagonists was so hasty and brief that I struggled to even figure out their names. It also didn’t help that their younger flashback selves looked nothing remotely to their adult counterpart. The film tries to remedy this disconnect by giving the characters love interests. Yet these relationships felt extremely forced. Their lovers were barely fleshed out, each making short 5 minute appearances. It would seem like they existed only for the plot’s sake. Don’t even get me started on an ex-girlfriend who wasn’t even granted a name.
However credit where credit is due, the director did do a good job of setting up the scene of the crime invested streets of Hong Kong. The mise en scène was very believable with the use of color. The dirty green hue that enveloped the run down hawker stall added realism to the scene. The rugged gangsters puffing away at their cigars were the icing on the cake.
A film with a stellar cast but less-than stellar plot. 6/10
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