When it’s over, Hong Kong cinema at its best. Andy Lau and Tony Leung come together to play opposing characters, and they are simply mesmerizing in a film about a mole in the police department and an undercover cop in a Chinese Triad. Lau is Inspector Lau King Ming, the cold calculating lawman, and Leung is Chan Ying Wang, the tormented agent who is in way too deep. The film stays focused on these two men as they play cat and mouse and try to discover one another. A simple plot with deep ramifications. Not your run of the mill cop and robber film. This is a police thriller that doesn’t use lavish gunplay, overblown explosions, intense car chases, or cheesy buddy cop dialogue to sell its worth. The film builds tension with each scene, not through action, but through emotionally charged leading characters. The script is tight, and the acting is right on. I can get into the minds of Lau and Chan. I can feel their inner struggle as they fight to survive in their surroundings. The violence is very specific and is only shown to make a statement. I can see Martin Scorseces’ interest in this film, as it is the basis for the USA remake, The Departed (2006).
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