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"Infernal Affairs"

Directed by Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak.
Written by Felix Chong and Siu Fai Mak.
Starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai. 
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  5/2/03 


This Hong Kong crime drama, the winner of multiple awards from its home country at its Oscar equivalent this year, has just been snapped up by the Hollywood machine with Brad Pitt attached to star.  One can see why.  A solid effort by all involved, the story of two men--one a mole for the cops in a local gang, one a mole for the same local gang with the police force--is often tense as they play a drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse to help their respective sides.  Andy Lau (“Fulltime Killer”) is great as the dirty cop, but Tony Leung is better as the shadowy undercover cop that is so deep that he doesn’t even remember his real birthday.  (Aren’t all undercover cops this way in the movies?  I love it--person is so far undercover they forget when they are born.  Genius.)  Going against Hong Kong type, the body count is very low in “Infernal Affairs”, but what looks like acting, pacing and story make up for that in a rarity for Hong Kong cinema.  Catch it on video--strong stuff.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09