With memories of Andrew Lau's massively disappointing 'A Man Called Hero' and 'Storm Riders' still fresh in my mind, my heart sank upon reading his name, alongside the more respected Alan Mak, during the opening credits of this 2002 production.
This exceptionally stylish, yet maturely handled tale revolves around a seemingly simple premise: a police officer undercover in the triads, and a triad member undercover in the Police force.
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, the undercover cop, and Andy Lau, the undercover triad, are given the task by each of their bosses, to find the mole in their respective organisations.
Tony Leung turns in yet another sublime performance - a sentence which seem synonymous with his name nowadays - and always seems to be able to catch you off guard with the briefest of smiles, or the slightest sorrowful gaze.
For many, Andy Lau has often flattered to deceive - an actor with great promise, who only lives up to that in fits and starts. Recently though, possibly with age creeping up, he appears to have matured greatly, both into his looks and his acting. Here he has to straddle a fine line between a man who to all intents and purposes is a villain, yet much in the same way as Leung's character, is a victim of circumstance.
The screenplay's intelligence, along with its skillful direction, leave an unease running through the entire film, as your heart never quite knows who your loyalties lie with. This is only added to by Christopher Doyles gorgeous lighting, and Chan Kwong-Wing's stirring score.
Movie-making, Hong Kong-based or otherwise, rarely gets better than this.
This Mega Star-authored DVD transfer is hopefully a sign of things to come.
What little there is to criticise comes in the form of of the three or four scenes which fail to match the clarity and excellence of those which preceded them.
With just a little more attention, this DVD could have easily reached reference-quality standards, thanks to it's intelligently placed Layer-Change, and generally impressive levels of detail and colour reproduction.
With the DTS logo emblazoned across its cover, Infernal Affairs exhilarating soundtrack is the only option for those suitably equipped.
Thankfully bordered in black, unlike the frustratingly all-white versions I had to endure at the cinema, the subtitles are of a very high standard.
Viewers beware: those that are subtitle virgins may want to cut their teeth elsewhere, as the subs only remain onscreen for the time it takes that particular piece of dialogue to be spoken.
Scored using the film's many pieces of music, the menus on both discs are easy to navigate, and very well designed.
Upon choosing to play the movie, you are presented with the option of viewing the film in its Theatrical/Director's Cut, or
with an Alternative Ending.
Cast and Credits
Bio and Filmo
A decent range of extras, let down by a distinct lack of English subtitles. Rather a missed opportunity from Mega Star.
With fine directorial touches, a stunning and fitting soundtrack, and the sort of ensemble acting which would put most US films to shame, Infernal Affairs proclaims that Hong Kong cinema has much more to offer before its supposed death toll chimes.
Certain Screengrabs courtesy of So Good...