Infernal Affairs III picks up where the first film left off. Ming (Andy Lau) is cleared of any charges involving Yan's (Tony Leung) death, and is eventually assigned to the Internal Affairs division. He discovers that another cop, Yeung (Leon Lai of Fallen Angels), quickly rising through the ranks of the police department, has a mysterious link to Shen (Chen Daoming of Hero), who was apparently Sam's (Eric Tsang) connection to themainland. Ming strongly suspects that Yeung is another one of Sam's moles, and is determined to expose him, while keeping his own connection to Sam a secret. It's a tricky proposition because Yeung also seems to suspect Ming, and appears to have the same goal in mind. With the help of Dr. Lee (Kelly Chen), Yan's psychiatrist, Ming looks deeper into Yan's final days, and flashbacks explore the undercover cop's dealings with both Yeung and Shen. Eventually, Ming finds an incriminating tape of Sam conversing with his mole, and has a climactic confrontation with Yeung. Anthony Wong and Chapman To also reprise their roles from the first two films in flashbacks. Infernal Affairs III was shown, along with the rest of the trilogy, at the 2004 New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Cast & Credits
The first film felt complete but that didn’t stop producers from creating back stories as well as future presumptions and inserting other characters in both Infernal Affairs II and III to make everything sound finalized and perfectionist. Maybe that’s overdoing it but I still wouldn’t consider it wrong.
Infernal Affairs III picks up after the first movie; it shows the life of the remaining character after the last outcome of Infernal Affairs but that doesn’t deny the fact that the first movie’s characters were back in flashbacks to tell a different back story that felt more spiritual than twisted. What makes the matter more complicated that the search for moles inside the police isn’t over yet. This time around, it’s two cops tailing each other in the most twisted suspenseful way.
The screenwriting didn’t lose its touch; it managed to bring great Suspense/Thriller moments even with flashbacks and past moments. Of course, the flashbacks I am talking about aren’t extracted from the two previous movies; they’re specifically made for Infernal Affairs III to give it more depth and a proper back story for the few new characters introduced in this movie. The plot was interesting to follow even if it wasn’t twisty as the first two movies.
As Tony Leung, Andy Lau came back to lead this movie (unlike the second Infernal Affairs), the acting department felt extremely satisfying and with the addition of Lai Leon, it felt like perfection when watching those three around. Of course, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang are like pepper and salt for the Infernal Affairs trilogy.
The characters’ development was quite appreciated; Ming was really twisted with a pretty convincing turns in here; I was quite surprised by the last twist for his character. The new characters added a great taste to this movie especially Yeung who made me suspect him and sympathize with him at the same time. I think that’s the strength point of both Infernal Affairs II and III; the screenwriters added intriguing characters who don’t allow you to complain about the pacing and characters’ conflict after the outcome of the first Infernal Affairs. What I didn’t appreciate was the somewhat forced addition of Yeung’s character in the past stories when it’s obvious that he wasn’t even mentioned once in the past two movies. Also giving Dr. Lee a bigger role in this movie was unnecessary in my opinion.
Infernal Affairs III is worth the watch if you saw the other two but you can also watch it right after the first movie without looking into the second one since the latter isn’t related to this film’s plot in any way.
Watching the Infernal Affairs trilogy back to back as I did was one of the best things to do when you want to watch all the sequels but watching Infernal Affairs only like many others did isn’t the wrong thing to do but you will be missing two of the better characters’ addition: Hau and Yeung. That’s why I still recommend it as a trilogy.