Directed by Andrew Lau Wai-keung and Alan Mak • 2003 • Hong Kong
Starring Edison Chen Koon-hei, Shawn Yue Man-lok, Anthony Wong Chau-sang
The first of two sequels to follow in the wake of the massively successful INFERNAL AFFAIRS softens the original’s furious pulp punch in favor of something more sweeping, elegiac, and overtly political. Flashing back in time, INFERNAL AFFAIRS II traces the tangled histories that bind the trilogy’s two pairs of adversaries: the young, dueling moles (here played by Edison Chen Koon-hei and Shawn Yue Man-lok), and the ascendant crime boss (Eric Tsang Chi-wai) and police inspector (Anthony Wong Chau-sang) whose respective rises reveal a shocking hidden connection. Unfolding against the political and psychological upheaval of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China, this elegant, character-driven crime drama powerfully connects its themes of split loyalties to the city-state’s own postcolonial identity crisis.