You may define your own banner on the settings page.
FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
Dave Chua
Brandon Wee
Wong Lung Hsiang
Felix Cheong
Foong Ngai Hoe
Adrian Sim
sieteocho
Chris Khoo
O Thiam Chin
Lau Chee Nien
Sinnerman
Ambient Noise
Drakula
daface
Sarhan Rashid
Ying Wuen
Liverbird
Ellery Ngiam
Toh Hai Leong
Toh Hai Leong, Auteur
Wong Kar Wai
The Seduction of Wong Kar Wai
Tsai Ming Liang
Lav Diaz
Mikio Naruse
Leslie Cheung
Jonathan Foo Interview
Chinese Ghosts
Assassins in Asian FIlms
Sex in Asian Cinema
Erotic Cinema of the Shaw Studios
Homosexuality in Chinese Films
My Left Eye Sees Creativity
Hollywood Remakes
Comic Book Superheroes
One League of Social Consciousness
Emerging Trends in East Asian Cinema
Postwar Korean Cinema
Decline of Hong Kong Cinema before 1997
Bollywood
Rise of Afghan Films
Singapore's Mini Cinema
Creating A Singapore Cinema
Why Cinema is Important to Singapore
Singapore Film Industry
Rites of Passage
Replying to Critics
Daniel Yun Interview
Singapore International Film Festival
Bangkok International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
Writer's Block
15
19
2046
Acacia
All Tomorrow's Parties
And Also the Eclipse
Another Heaven
At Five in the Afternoon
Audition
Avalon
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Bangkok Haunted
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Batang West Side
Battle Royale
Bear Hug
Beautiful Boxer
Beijing Rocks
Bend It Like Beckham
Best of Times
Betelnut Beauty
Big Durian
Big Shot's Funeral
Bird Man Tale
Blackboards
Blissfully Yours
Blue Kite
Bounce Ko Gals
Brighter Summer Day, A
Butterfly
Cafe Lumiere
Cat Returns
Chinese Odyssey 2002
City of Glass
City Sharks
Clean
Color of the Truth
Color Blossoms
Confucian Confusion
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Water
Desire
Destination 9th Heaven
Divine Intervention
Dolls
Double Vision
Dumlings: 3 Extremes
Enter the Phoenix
Era of Vampire, The
Eye, The
Eye 2, The
Eye 10, The
Face
Fat Choy Spirit
Floating Weeds
Fog of War, The
Formula 17
Friend
Full Alert
Garuda
Gemini
Ghost in the Shell
God or Dog
Golden Chicken
Golden Chicken 2
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Grudge
Guru, The
Hana-Bi (Fireworks)
Harold and Kumar
Headlines
Hero
Hidden Blade, The
Homerun
House of Flying Daggers
House of Fury
House of Sand and Fog
Howl's Moving Castle
Hypnotized
I Not Stupid
In the Mood for Love
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs III
Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
Install
Iron Ladies 2
Isle, The
Jan Dara
Jealousy is My Middle Name
Joint Security Area
Ju-On: The Grudge (2003)
July Rhapsody
Khakee
Korban Fitnah
Koroshi
Kung Fu Hustle
Lan Yu
Last Life in the Universe
Last Samurai, The
Legend of Zu, The
Liang Po Po
Love/Juice
Love Letter
Lucky Number
Marry a Rich Man
Me Thao
Medallion, The
Metropolis
Monrak Transistor
Moveable Feast, A
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
Musa the Warrior
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
My Neighbors The Yamadas
My Sassy Girl
Naked Weapon
Name of a River, The
New Police Story
Nobody Knows
Nobody Knows How to be a Film Critic
One Leg Kicking
Ong-Bak
Perfect Blue
Phone, The
Ping Pong
Pirated Copy
Princess D
Quill
River, The
Road Home
Romance of Book and Sword
Runaway Pistol
S Diary
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
Samsara
Scent of Green Papaya
Seoul Raiders
Sepet
Seventeen Years
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai Knights
Shaolin Soccer
Shower
Shutter
Singapore Gaga
Skywalk is Gone
So-Called Friends
So Close
Someone Special
Song of the Stork
Spider Forest
Spirited Away
Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring
Stories About Love
Storm Riders
Summer Holiday
Sumpah Pontianak
Super Size Me
Surprise Party
Swing Girls
Tale of Two Sisters, A
TalkingCock
Tears of the Black Tiger
Teenage Textbook Movie
This Charming Girl
3-Iron
Three: Extremes
Tokyo Raiders
Touch, The
Tree, The
Truth or Dare
Twelve Storeys
Twenty-Four Eyes
Twins Effect
Twins Effect 2
Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors
Visitor Q
Volcano High
Warriors of Heaven and Earth
Waterboys
Way Home, The
Welcome Back Mr McDonald
Wesley's Mysterious File
When I Fall In Love With Both
Wishing Stairs
Wolves Cry Under the Moon
Woman is the Future of Man
Women's Private Parts
World Without Thieves, A
Zombie Dog
A Time to Live A Time to Die
e-mail me


   Infernal Affairs III  



 

Infernal Affairs III

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Chinese Title: Wu jian dao 3
Director: Lau Wai Keung, Mak Siu Fai
Writing Credits: Felix Chong, Mak Siu Fai
Cast: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Leon Lai
Genre: Crime Drama
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Year Released: 2003
Rating: * ½ (out of four stars)

Infernal Affairs III reflects exactly what’s wrong with Hong Kong cinema – the inability to leave a good movie alone. Infernal Affairs was released in December last year to extremely favorable critical and general response, and expectedly this began a chain of sequels for the film. Infernal Affairs II, released in October this year, was a worthy successor to the first movie, and Infernal Affairs III follows hot on its trail, released a mere two months later. Unfortunately, Infernal Affairs III is a thorough failure – a needlessly complex storyline that forces new characters into the Infernal Affairs chronology, some truly bad emoting, and an indecisiveness that badly cripples the film. Although it’s granted that fans of the series would want to see how things end, Infernal Affairs III leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and to have such a film become the concluding chapter in one of the best franchises in recent HK film history is simply a waste.

Infernal Affairs III is both a prequel and a sequel to the events that occurred in the two previous films. One plot thread is set six months before Yan (Tony Leung), the police mole in Sam’s (Eric Tsang) triad, was killed. Yan has been working for two years under Sam, and it seems that he has finally gained Sam’s trust. Sam assigns him to deal with Shen (Chen Daoming), a mysterious businessman from China, but it seems like Sam has his own agenda up his sleeve, which puts Yan in great danger. Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong), Yan’s mentor and superior, is wary of Sam’s motives but still needs the information that’s provided by Yan’s spying. We also get to see the lighter side of things, when Yan is assigned to psychiatrist Dr. Lee (Kelly Chen), and in the process of treatment, the two fall for each other.

The other plot thread is set 10 months after Yan’s death, and the only surviving character from the first film, Ming (Andy Lau), previously Sam’s mole in the police force, is under investigation for the death of SP Wong and Yan. Meanwhile, he’s been relegated to administrative duties, and he watches with concern the meteoric rise of Yeung (Leon Lai) in the police force – Ming suspects that Yeung is a mole of the triads, just like himself. Ming begins his own covert sleuthing, only to find that Yeung seems to be anticipating his every move, and Shen, now a cripple, is trailing him too. The cat and mouse game comes to a head, but with consequences that the players may not be ready to accept.

If nothing else, directors Andrew Lau and Andy Mak must at least be applauded for daring to try filming a sequel that is so different from the norm, with the film doing double duty as prequel and sequel. Unfortunately, it takes more than guts to pull it off, and Andrew and Andy do not really manage to do it. The way the two timelines intersect may be confusing for many audiences, but paying close attention to the movie will probably help a fair bit. The biggest problem with Infernal Affairs III, however, is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be – at times a melodrama, at times bordering on espionage, and suddenly a romantic comedy of sorts. The lane switching is jarring and the way the new characters (namely Yeung and Shen) are forced into the film is contrived and unconvincing.

Although littered with A-class actors, Infernal Affairs III is a strangely underacted affair. Andy Lau is given the most screen time, but unfortunately he is unable to emote properly, and the latter scenes in which he takes center stage fails to convince. Tony Leung is once again the best thing in the film, and the scenes with him are undoubtedly the best in the movie, although a large part of it is unnecessary and does not advance the plot. For the remaining actors, Chen Daoming and Leon Lai are particularly useless, and both Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang take a backseat, much to the detriment of the film. Much of this could be attributed to the fact that with the multiple timelines and the increased number of central characters, there simply isn’t enough time to give everyone fair coverage. For the second time this year, a trilogy is let down by its final installment (the first being the Matrix trilogy), and sadly Infernal Affairs goes out with a whimper rather than a bang.

Final Word: A totally unnecessary sequel, this movie ends the franchise on a particularly low note, and should be avoided totally except for cinema completists.