Why oh why must I insist on being a completist? It wasn’t enough that I really liked Infernal Affairs but didn’t care for Infernal Affairs 2. I had to continue to torture myself with Infernal Affairs 3. I hovered over that x on the Netflix queue several times only to have it come to my house and me actually waste almost two hours on this terrible movie. I regretted every moment of my life that led up to that dumb decision. That includes me being born.
The guys who were making this trilogy must have realized the reason that the first movie succeeded was because they had two great stars in the lead roles. Andy Lau and Tony Leung was able to take a good script and turn it into a great one. (Because let’s be honest, some of the dialogue was a little clunky) So instead of having the young actors that just sort of stood there with their mouths slightly agape come back for the third installment, they contrived it so that these stars could revitalize the series and inhabit their old roles. This brings an interesting challenge to the table since Tony Leung’s character died at the end of the movie. So they decided they will tell two different stories: one that takes place after Yan (Leung) was killed and involves Inspector Lau (Lau) and one that takes place while Yan was still alive but after the second movie. The first plot line has Inspector Lau trying to become a good guy completely after covering up his tracks by shooting Yan. Lau discovers that there might be another gang mole in the force and he goes after him to ensure his safety in his position. But his mental state is slowly unraveling and he ends up chasing himself as much as he is chasing his enemy. Meanwhile (and by meanwhile I mean several years before), Yan is brought in on a mission for the gangs to hook up allegiance with China (or the Mainland) and combine their drug trades. But the boss has different plans for the deal and essentially sends Yan to his death after he gives him a short shipment. But what Yan doesn’t know is that these men are actually cops (the ones that Lau is now chasing and determined to find out are rats) who are hell-bent on helping Yan instead of hurting him. Other things happen, but they do not matter in the grand scheme of things.
This movie is a convoluted mess. You are never quite sure where you are at in either story, or even if the things that are happening on-screen are actual events or delusions in the characters’ minds. Lau’s mental awareness is slowly unraveling so the filmmakers choose to shoot scenes that don’t actually take place in the actual world of the movie but in his mind thus making the plot even murkier. Plus they put in this whole long subplot of the psychiatrist whose office was seen in the first installment as the only place Yan can relax and sleep. She gets caught up in helping Lau reconcile his mental awareness while also remembering her and Yan’s relationship. This is completely unnecessary and only helped me hate this movie even more. There is no anchor. There is no reason why these events needed to be told. Lau’s slowly becoming crazy could have been interesting if only they had supplied him with enough reason to think that he should be going crazy.
This movie falls into almost every trap that a sub par thriller lies for itself. It takes everything way to seriously, by giving us an intrusive score and shackling the actors to whispery lines in monotone. It chases an abstract idea (someone going crazy) without manifesting it interesting visually. It then stuff way too many subplots in the movie to divert you away from the main action.
Instead of torturing yourself, just watch the first Infernal Affairs. Trust me, you will thank me for not submitting you to this torture.