Friday, February 25, 2011
Infernal Affairs III (2003)
The Infernal Affairs movie series, directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, is a story about an undercover police officer Yan, played by Tony Leung, whose mission is to find information about the illegal drug and weapon marketing of a Triad society. At the same time, the Triad leader Sam, played by Eric Tsang, has got their own moles in the police department. Both having the same objective to gain intelligence advantages compared to the rivalling party. After a few failed police missions and the Triads attempts of drug and weapon trades, both parties learn they have a mole inside their organisation. This leads to a race between the triads and the police to find out the identity of their moles.
The first movie basically tells the main points of the plot. The story might be more widely known from the American remake "The Departed (2006)". The second movie is a prequel, which concentrates to the events before the first movie, how Yan managed to get in the high positions in the criminal organisation and what was the police superintendent Wongs, played by Anthony Wong, old mission to catch the Triad leader Sam.
Infernal Affairs 3 is basically a sequel to the first film. It rotates around the background events of the first movie and what happened afterwards, revealing some details in certain events. The main story concentrates on the police inspector Ming, played by Andy Lau, who is struggling to keep his past connections to the Triad society hidden. He discovers that he wasn't the only mole Sam had in the police department, and so he starts his desparate mission to dispose the other moles to avoid his own identity to be exposed. The police department has been put under heavy surveillance by a Security Division because of the past mole issues. This causes difficulties for Ming to complete his intentions.
This movie isn't one of those straight-forward action clips, it actually has a very few action scenes and almost all of them have a long tension built before the scene. The story telling is a bit straggling, especially in the beginning of the movie. It's very hard to catch up with the story if you haven't watched the previous films in a while. Some of the scenes in the beginning are totally lacking a "time stamp" which could tell the viewer if this scene is in the past or in the present time, and this time-shifting happens alot. In very short scenes here and there. In most cases the movie simply assumes that the viewer know which time period is going on by looking at the characters. Knowing who's alive after the first film helps quite a bit though. On the other hand, some scenes has a huge label stating the year and months after/before a certain event.
Since both movies, Infernal Affairs 2 and 3 were made within one year, the time spent on planning and editing these movies might have caused the lack of integrity, who knows.
The main roles acting performances are good in most cases, but the supporting casts acting feels very stiff. The same issue repeats in dialogues, most of supporting cast's dialogue just doesn't feel natural. I can't really confirm this, because I don't know anyone who'd know Chinese. The poor dialogue might also be caused by the translation of the subtitles.
As a sequel, Infernal Affairs 3 turns out very well, revealing deep plot points and answers some mysteries of the previous films. But as a separate film, for someone who hasn't seen the first two, this movie doesn't offer much and might be a complete mess, because this movie doesn't fully introduce any of the characters, unless you pay very close attention to the scenes and flashbacks. Practically you just have to know their backgrounds beforehand from the previous films.
If you like crime/thriller movies, as a whole Infernal Affairs is definitely a movie series worth watching.