Thursday, June 2nd, 2005
Police And Thieves 2
Sequels are tricky things, prequels even moreso. You have to try and craft a compelling story that a) lives up to the presumably high standard of the original film, and b) manages to keep the audience engaged despite them knowing how it all ultimately turns out – no easy task, just ask George Lucas. Infernal Affairs 2 more than succeeds on both fronts. For those who haven’t seen it, the first film (my review here) follows the inevitable collision of a police officer undercover in the Triads and a Triad member operating as a mole in the police department – I can’t tell any more for fear of spoiling it, but let me say that if you haven’t seen it, you really should. Preferably before Martin Scorcese’s remake The Departed comes out next year just so you can honestly say how much better the original was (for the record, I am looking forward to the remake – there is no earthly reason that it can’t be made into an excellent American film. Not saying that it necessarily will be, but it can happen. End aside).
Infernal Affairs 2 is set approximately a decade before the first film, in between the times that the moles were placed and before the events of IA1. Rather than the tense cops-and-robbers mood of the original, this one plays out much more like a traditional mobster movie. The mob war plot is considerably more intricate – it takes a little while to get wrap my head around who was who and what was what, never mind the whole double agent angle. The film actually focuses far less on Ming and Yan, the main characters of the original, and more on Sam and Wong, their respective bosses in the Triads and Hong Kong police department. Whereas in the first film Sam and Wong were fairly typical bad mobster/good cop archetypes, here they’re given far more back story and depth of character – it makes me want to see the first film again just to see if it alters my perception of them.
The cast utilizes Edison Chen and Shawn Yue, the actors who portrayed the acadamy-aged Ming and Yan in the first film. While they don’t have the star power of Andy Lau and Tony Leung, they’re both excellent in their roles, as are Anthony Wong (as Wong) and Eric Tsang (as Sam). Hell, everyone in this film does a fine job – even if it wasn’t a se/prequel, it’d be an excellent standalone gangster movie. It doesn’t necessarily have the twists or tension of the IA, but is more dramatic and character-intensive. The best point of comparison I can make is if The Godfather were a prequel to Heat. I, of course, am going to have to get the third film now (which is a proper sequel to the first).
More movies: Matthew Vaughan has stepped down as director of X-Men 3. He cites personal reasons, explaining that he didn’t want to be separated from his family for upwards of a year nor uproot them. Before you call him unreasonable, consider that his wife is Claudia Schiffer. I don’t think anyone can fault a guy for not wanting to be away from that for very long. The Beat, however, has its own interpretation of the factors leading to his exit. So where does that leave the third X-Men film? Nine weeks from principal shooting and without a director. THAT’S not a good thing.
Popmatters talks to Bruce Campbell about his new “novel”, How To Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way. He also hints that a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep could be in the works. Bruuuuuuce!
I’m stealing a page from BrooklynVegan’s work at Gothamist and starting to do weekly live music previews for Torontoist. I wasn’t anywhere near regular with reviews and really, the last thing the world needs is more online CD reviews. I think this is a little more Toronto-relevant and I can write it over a longer period of time rather than cram the night before.
np – Longwave / The Strangest Things