Infernal Affairs was a critical and commercial success across the Asia continent. In Hong Kong, it grossed a total of approximately US$6.86 million (a lot of money considering that Hong Kong has a population of 6 million), and won 7 Hong Kong Film Awards (Hong Kong equivalent of the Oscars) and 5 Golden Horses (Taiwan equivalent of the Oscars). Among the wins included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Tony Leung) and Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Wong). The film’s success spawned a prequel and a sequel, both made and released within a year after the former’s debut. Infernal Affairs II traces the back story that leads up to the events of Infernal Affairs, while Infernal Affairs III continues where the first left off (and also leaves off where the first one begins, but more on that later).
On American soil, Infernal Affairs was theatrically released in September last year but only in New York City. Why it was not released throughout the country is a mystery. Hopefully it is not a retaliatory attempt by distributor Miramax for all the bad rep it received for mishandling – and butchering – past Asian films like Hero and Shaolin Soccer. At any rate, the film was quickly – and quietly - released on American-edition DVD, whose cover shows the faces of Andy Lau and Tony Leung faded behind a gun-toting girl in a skimpy blue dress (see right). Not that this is going to help sell more DVDs since 1) Americans don’t know who she is, 2) neither she nor her attire appears in the film, and 3) there are more than a few DVD editions from Hong Kong – single-disc, 2-disc and collector’s gift set - already out there to choose from.
So hyped is the success of Infernal Affairs that Hollywood wants in on by remaking the film (as they have done before). The title of the remake will be called The Departed, and directed by Martin Scorsese. Playing the undercover cop (Tony Leung’s character) is frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio with The Bourne Identity’s Matt Damon as the mole (Andy Lau’s character). But from now until the film comes out (which will be sometime in 2006), there is plenty of time to appreciate all three Infernal Affairs films.
If 2-disc sets and limited collector’s gift sets – for Infernal Affairs and each of its two follow-ups - are not enough, an 8-disc box set containing all three films and then some, has been issued early last December. Although labeled as Region 3, it can be played on any DVD player regardless of geographical location. Read (more)