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Wick's Review

Created Sep 14, 2012 09:28PM PST • Edited Jun 16, 2019 02:54AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Infernal Affairs screams Hong Kong 2002. Movie theaters advertise Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones back in black and Harrison Ford as Capt. Alexei Vostrikov. Within that milieu, Alan Mak & Wai-keung Lau’s blockbuster unspools a cop story of such depth, perfection and tension that Martin Scorsese decided to bring it to America with Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon, Walberg & Sheen. Result? The Departed of course.

    The Hong Kong original tops the 2006 Boston knockoff however. Scorsese’s homage staggers under the weight of an alien and ultimately absurd plot. Thus it reaches greatness but can’t exceed it, notwithstanding its greater – Western – stars. Star-power aside, Infernal Affairs scores higher as a film, its homegrown plot equally absurd yet perfectly at home on the rooftops overlooking fragrant harbour, er, Hong Kong.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    The fun is matching up the actors and characters – Chinese and American.

    • Eric Tsang as a mob boss, the role taken by Jack Nicholson in The Departed.
    • Andy Lau as his mole, the role taken by Matt Damon.
    • Anthony Wong Chau-Sang as a Police Superintendent, the role taken by Martin Sheen.
    • Tony Leung Chiu Wai as his mole, the role taken by Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg? Not so sure.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Good 3.0
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Perfectly constructed albeit extremely complex, two moles of two bosses cross paths too many times to keep straight, creating a too delicious crime tableau to tickle the taste of taut thriller lovers.

    Fundamentals get played no better than in Alan Mak & Wai-keung Lau’s landmark blockbuster. Given that Internal Affairs are an infernal staple of hard core cop movies, you gotta admire filmmakers who grab something that’s been done hundreds of times over dozens of years and make something fresh out of it.

    The Wrestler & The Artist come to mind. The Fighter too, except Infernal Affairs whups ’em all in mathematical complexity. Leave it to the Chinese to be the most clever.

    Cops and mobsters cross paths so many times it’s cinematically intoxicating.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Imagine SNL Scorsese seeing Infernal Affairs the first time – “Oh wow, holy cow! Can you believe this?!”

    He was right to be dazzled. The mark of a master is to recognize perfection when it’s presented.

    That said, the real Scorsese takes pains to insist that Infernal Affairs was just a starting point for The Departed: “Infernal Affairs is a very good example of why I love the Hong Kong Cinema, but The Departed is not a remake of that film. Our film was inspired by Infernal Affairs, because of the nature of the story. However, the world Monahan created is very different from the Hong Kong film."

  10. Play Perfect 5.0

    A perfectly written scene. Warning – Spoiler Follows

    Man greets a woman he clearly knew before: “How are you?”
    Woman, nervous: “Married”
    Man: “Is this your daughter?”
    Woman: “Yes.”
    Man: “She’s pretty. How old is she?”
    Woman: “Five”
    Man: “Good-bye”
    Woman: “Good-bye”
    Girl: “Momma, I’m six. Why did you say I’m five?”
    Woman: “Sometimes Momma forgets.”

    Wow! Screenwriting gets no better.

    William Monahan – Scorsese’s screenwriter – didn’t include the scene in The Departed. Pity.

  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.4

    No one dies for the first hour but it’s brutal when they do.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.7
  16. Violence Brutal 3.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Surreal 2.3

    Asian Action. Get my drift.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.6
  20. Biological Surreal 2.7
  21. Physical Glib 1.7


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Sep 15, 2012 1:50PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Good choice. I swore off DVDs, so Netflix isn’t available for me on this one.

Sep 15, 2012 1:37PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Ok, well, I’m going to go the Netflix route with this one…

Sep 14, 2012 9:39PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Watched this Amazon OnDemand on my Roku. Roku’s fine but Amazon’s a pain in the… A pain, but worth it. Infernal Affairs rocks combinatorially.