Infernal Affairs III
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|Infernal Affairs III
|Directed by||Andrew Lau
|Produced by||Andrew Lau|
|Written by||Felix Chong
|Music by||Chan Kwong-wing|
|Editing by||Danny Pang
|Studio||Media Asia Films
Tianjin Film Studio
Eastern Dragon Film Co.
|Distributed by||Media Asia Distribution
Dragon Dynasty (DVD)
|Release date(s)||12 December 2003|
|Running time||118 minutes|
|Infernal Affairs III|
|Traditional Chinese||無間道III: 終極無間|
|Simplified Chinese||无间道III: 终极无间|
Infernal Affairs III is a 2003 Hong Kong crime thriller film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. It is the third and final installment in the Infernal Affairs film series, and is both a sequel and a semi-prequel to the original film, as it intercuts events before and after the events in the first film. Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Kelly Chen, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, and Chapman To reprise their roles again, joined by new cast members Leon Lai and Chen Daoming.
Infernal Affairs III uses parallel storytelling, flashing between the past and the present.
Six months before Chan's death 
Undercover cop Chan Wing-yan seeks to uncover the link between triad boss Hon Sam and the mysterious Mainland Chinese gang leader Shen Cheng. Since Hon's ascension to the seat of triad boss was due to Ngai Wing-hau's death in Infernal Affairs II, Hon is suspicious of all his followers for fear they might usurp his position. He tests Chan's loyalty by ordering Chan to smash an ashtray on Shen's brother during a negotiation, resulting in Chan's arrest by Inspector Yeung Kam-wing. Yeung tells Chan that though Chan does not recognise him, he recognises Chan and he warns the latter to "be careful". Chan is released after both Hon and Shen come to the police station to ask for him. Later, Shen and Hon settle the Chan hitting Shen's brother incident after "Crazy" Keung smashes a bottle of liquor on himself and Shen smashes one on Chan.
Concurrently, Chan is prosecuted for violent behaviour. His superior, Superintendent Wong Chi-shing, persuades the court to allow Chan to see a psychologist instead of serving jail. Chan meets Dr. Lee Sum-yee regularly for psychological therapy. Hon asks Chan to deliver arms to Shen but he and other triad members do not turn up. When Chan delivers the cargo, Shen's men discover that the boxes are empty, and they open fire at Chan. Shen and Chan shoot each other in the limbs during the crossfire. Shen finds out that Chan is an undercover cop when Yeung unexpectedly arrives on the scene. Yeung tells Chan that Shen is actually also an undercover cop from the Mainland. Yeung also tells Chan that he gained top honours when he was in the police academy due to Chan's "expulsion". The three shake hands and wait for the mayhem to subside before returning to their bases.
Ten months after Chan's death 
Former triad mole-turned-cop Lau Kin-ming has been demoted to administrative duty pending an investigation into the deaths of Chan and Inspector B in Infernal Affairs. He claims that B shot Chan in the head while holding him hostage, and he killed B in retaliation. In fact, Chan was holding Lau hostage after discovering that Lau was the mole, but was shot by B, who turned out to be also a triad mole. Lau killed B after that to erase traces of his criminal connections. After months of investigation, Lau is transferred back to Internal Affairs Department. He struggles to whitewash his past and cover his true identity. Just then, he learns that Hon Sam had previously planted five moles in the police force, one of whom might be a fellow Security Division Inspector, Yeung. A battle of wits develops between Lau and Yeung, as each of them tries to discover the other's secret.
Meanwhile, Lau suffers from an identity collapse as he loses track of reality, wrestling with guilt over Chan's death, and an impending divorce with his wife, Mary. His psychological trauma deteriorates to the point where he begins to see himself as Chan. As "Chan", Lau makes it a personal mission to apprehend Yeung, whom he sees as his former "triad mole" self. After witnessing an incident where Lau suffers a hallucination, Dr. Lee conducts a hypnosis on him and finds out that he was Hon's mole. Lau realises his folly and knocks Lee unconscious before escaping.
Lau steals tapes from Yeung's office safe, using his spy cameras to determine the code. He thinks he hears recordings of Yeung relating information to Hon, and so leads his team to the Security Division. He is announcing that he is arresting Yeung as Shen arrives. Lau plays a tape recording, which is actually the conversation between him and Hon in the movie theatre as seen in Infernal Affairs. When Lau's second-in-command tries to arrest him instead, Lau panics and draws his gun, asking for a chance to be a good guy, but Yeung declares, "Sorry, I'm a cop." Remembering that these were the exact same words Chan said before his death, Lau angrily yells, "I'm a cop too!" and shoots Yeung in the forehead, killing him on the spot. He is immediately shot by Shen in the next instant and attempts suicide by shooting himself in the neck. During a search of Lau's office, a tape is found in his safe and played. It is a recording of the song sung by Tsai Chin, given to him by Hon's wife Mary in Infernal Affairs II.
Eleven months after Chan's death 
A series of flashbacks play: immediately after Chan's death, Shen and Yeung meet. Shen suspects Lau. Yeung breaks into Lau's office to find tape recordings of his conversations with Hon, proving that Shen is right.
Yeung is buried next to Chan in the police cemetery. Shen and Lee visit the graves and Shen says to Lee: "Events change men, but men do not change events. But these two men are extraordinary because they changed events."
Lau ends up crippled and catatonic, lost inside his own mind, haunted by the spirit of Mary (Hon Sam's wife, whom he had a crush on in Infernal Affairs II) and locked in his own "continuous hell". His divorced wife Mary visits and tells him, "Our baby can say "papa" now." Before the picture fades into the next scene, the camera pans down onto Lau's fingers tapping out in Morse code, "H-E-L..." (and then the start of another 'L' as the picture dims).
Before the film ends, there is one final flashback to the hi-fi shop scene in Infernal Affairs, where Lau is buying an audio system from Chan.
- Andy Lau as Senior Inspector Lau Kin-ming (劉健明; Lau Kin Ming), a former triad mole in the police force who tries to cover his past and remain as a cop.
- Edison Chen as young Lau Kin-ming
- Tony Leung as Chan Wing-yan (陳永仁; Chan Wing Yan), an undercover cop. He was killed in the first film.
- Shawn Yue as young Chan Wing-yan
- Leon Lai as Superintendent Yeung Kam-wing (楊錦榮; Yeung Kam Wing), Lau's rival in the police force.
- Eddie Li as young Yeung Kam-wing
- Chen Daoming as "Shadow" Shen Cheng (沈澄), a Mainland Chinese gang leader who is actually an undercover cop.
- Kelly Chen as Dr. Lee Sum-yee (李心兒; Lee Sum Yi), Chan's therapist and love interest.
- Anthony Wong as Superintendent Wong Chi-shing (黃志誠; Wong Chi Shing), Chan's superior. He was killed by Hon Sam's henchmen in the first film.
- Eric Tsang as Hon Sam (韓琛; Hon Sum), the triad boss. He was killed by Lau in the first film.
- Chapman To as "Crazy" Keung (傻強; Silly Keung), Hon's henchman. He was killed in the first film.
- Berg Ng as Inspector Cheung (張Sir; Chung Sir), Lau's second-in-command.
- Wan Chi-keung as Officer Leung (梁Sir; Leung Sir), the police chief.
- Gordon Lam as Inspector B (大B; Big B), the triad mole who killed Chan in the first film. He was shot by Lau after revealing his true identity.
- Sammi Cheng as Mary, Lau's wife.
- Carina Lau as Mary, Hon Sam's wife, whom Lau had a crush on. She was mowed down by a car in the second film.
- Huang Zhizhong as Shen Liang (沈亮), Shen Cheng's younger brother who was injured by Chan.
- Waise Lee as Sergeant Chan Chun (陳俊; Chan Jun), one of Hon's moles in the police force. He commits suicide in front of Yeung.
The film's score was composed by Chan Kwong-wing. The theme song, Road to Inferno (自作自受; Zi Zuo Zi Shou), was composed by Andy Lau, Chan Tak-kin and Wan Ho-kit, lyrics provided by Andy Lau, and performed by Hacken Lee. Andy Lau also sang an alternate version of the song.
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Despite grossing higher than the second film at the box office with HKD 30,225,661 (over HKD 5 million more than Infernal Affairs II), Infernal Affairs III received lower ratings than the former. Channel 4 awarded the film a 3 out of 5 rating. The plot is also seen as confusing due to the constant flashbacks depicting Chan Wing-yan alive.
LoveHKFilm rated the film as pushing beyond its original intentions, leaving more questions than answering them at the end of the run. While a relatively enjoyable film, it was obviously commercialized, citing scenes where all lead actors are crammed into one room or bringing back characters who were killed in the previous film in order to garner screentime for them. Although Tony Leung won the Best Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards for his portrayal of Chan Wing-yan in the original Infernal Affairs, Andy Lau was the one who won the Best Actor award at the 41st Golden Horse Awards for his portrayal of Lau Kin-ming in Infernal Affairs III.
There are two cuts of the film: a 107-minute version which was released in Hong Kong theatres, and a 118-minute version, which is the directors' cut. Both are available on DVD. According to LoveHKFilm, the longer version is the superior cut.
- Nominated: Best Picture
- Nominated: Best Screenplay
- Nominated: Best Cinematography
- Nominated: Best Film Editing
- Nominated: Best Original Film Score
- Nominated: Best Sound Effects
- Nominated: Best Visual Effects
41st Golden Horse Awards
- Won: Best Actor (Andy Lau)
- Nominated: Best Actor (Andy Lau)
See also 
- Infernal Affairs
- Infernal Affairs II
- Cinema of Hong Kong
- List of Hong Kong films
- List of movies set in Hong Kong
- List of Dragon Dynasty releases
- Infernal Affairs III at the Internet Movie Database
- Official site
- Official site on Miramax
- Infernal Affairs III at AllRovi