When I first found out that "Infernal Affairs II" was a prequel to the first film, I thought that doing a film on the lives of the two moles and how they came to be where they were was an interesting concept. With its odd kinetic style, the first film was intriguing and overly amazing. The deal with "Infernal Affairs II" though, is that it wasn't anything like I expected but just as good as the first.
Oddly enough, a majority of this film has to do with the relationship and rise of Anthony Wong Chau-Sang's inspector character and Eric Tsang's Sam within the triads. A portion of the film has to do with our moles, but they seem to be there mostly to move other characters forward whilst showing their rise within the ranks. At first, I thought that this was somewhat of an odd choice, but in the end it probably works out better then it might have otherwise. We get even more tricky relationships between individuals (as in how Sam's wife has this odd connection to his mole) and even more story building that allows even more depth to the original. It almost makes this one even more epic.
The style of filming is different too. The original film had a feeling of chaotic fate and crumbling of the worlds, but this one moves at a slow burn pace focusing on the building situations within the world of the characters. This film might be more comparable to the "Godfather" then most with its epic storytelling and feeling of transitional phases with the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
Acting wise, since this is a prequel we don't get our two main guys from the first film, but their younger counterparts whom do the job nicely. The real acting comes from bit players in the first film Tsang and Chau-Sang whom really make this baby cook. Particular nod goes to Tsang (whom before the first "Infernal Affairs" I had only seen in more comedic roles) as we get some pretty impressive back story and acting chops to go with it.
"Infernal Affairs II" is a whole different beast then its predecessor, even though its just as good. All around this is just a monster of a film, relying on the in depth storytelling to carry most of its weight. It will definitely make you want to go back and rewatch the first film.
Written By Matt Reifschneider