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Leung and Lau - on the couch

Infernal Affairs trilogy boxset

November 2005 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Infernal Affairs III
cast: Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Kelly Chen, Anthony Wong, and Eric Tsang

directors: Andrew Lau, and Alan Mak

118 minutes (18) 2003
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Tartan Asia Extreme DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
This trilogy concludes with a somewhat leisurely paced, psychological thriller, which guides viewers through a convoluted story, frequently switching back and forth in time to provide us with a plotline that bookends everything we have seen before in Infernal Affairs and the original's narrative-prequel Infernal Affairs II.

As other VideoVista reviewers have pointed out, the earlier instalments of this saga were not quite the action-packed comicbook shoot 'em ups we might have been expecting from the makers of Hong Kong crime movies. Instead, what these pictures deliver are moral dilemmas and astute character studies that reveal the fragile psyches of 'moles' within triad and police organisations, each spying for their side, but eventually becoming hooked on power trips or the dangers of their respective positions. Infernal Affairs III (aka: Wu jian dao 3) complicates the central players' troubled personal situations, and intensifies their psychological dramas, especially for habitual liar, Ming (Andy Lau), struggling to be one of the good guys despite his murderous tendencies.

Perhaps the less said about the plot by me, the more you will enjoy discovering for yourself exactly how everything turns out. Suffice to say that plenty of twists and turns are provided by Alan Mak and Felix Chong's genre-literate screenplay, and the entire cast rise to the occasion here, doing justice to the sophisticated material throughout (in spite of the filmmakers' insistence upon overusing their supposedly dramatic fade-to-white 'chaptering' a bit). Although the coin-flip worlds of coolly heroic cops and predatory, manipulative gangsters are virtually boiling over with strutting machismo, soul crushing deceptions and savage betrayals, the film's principal flaw is its certain lack of strong female roles. The fetching Carina Lau is hardly given anything to do except stand around in the gleaming cop-shop office spaces and look good among the numerous featureless extras in business suits. As she proved in Infernal Affairs II, and the likes of Corey Yuen's action-packed crime thriller, She Shoots Straight (1990), Ms Lau is a capable actress and she deserves better than just being hired for her decorative presence. Thankfully, however, we have Kelly Chen, who makes for a wonderfully composed leading lady. Playing elegant hypnotherapist Doctor Lee with a winningly deadpan charm, she matches wits with Andy Lau's perplexing head-case, Ming, in some of this film's best-acted, and surprisingly funny, scenes.

Exploring the social crises of fractured identities, the creepy paranoia of security agency investigators, and the seemingly unavoidable encroachment of psychosis into the off-duty lives of undercover detectives, Infernal Affairs III features high production values and stylish cinematography of typical Hollywood standards, and this fine Hong Kong trilogy establishes a new benchmark of superb quality for Asian cinema.

The first-class anamorphic presentation, and choice of Dolby digital 5.1 surround or DTS sound options, are fitted as standard for this film series from Tartan. DVD extras include a behind-the-scenes documentary, some deleted scenes, plus a reel of trailers.

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