A heads-up to anyone curious about checking out the Region 1 blu-ray recently released by Lionsgate: the picture quality is *terrible*. I think it somehow looks worse than my Chinese DVD. One of the most disappointing viewing experiences I've ever had. But "Infernal Affairs" remains one of the best Hong Kong films of the past decade. I've seen it at least four times now and enjoy it every time.
Taken as an individual work, its average at best as it lacks resolution and a fully developed plot. As a trilogy though, I was very impressed with how well the whole story and its containing characters were pieced together.
Rated The Departed the same, although I prefer this to Scorsese's remake. IA is a much leaner affair, w/ none of the unnecessary bloat of the Wahlberg and Nicholson characters. Lau's character in IA is much less two-dimensional than his Matt Damon counterpart in TD, but DiCaprio's character is better fleshed out than Tony Leung's. I did like TD's twist of having both men involved with the same woman, but IA is sleek.
Over time this film has become known as the basis for Martin Scorsese's The Departed, but it still stands on its own. Tony Leung is very good, but I think it's Andy Lau who owns the movie. You don't really know which side his character really serves until the end of the movie.
The film that got Scorsese his first Oscar is a remake of this wonderful film, a very perplex and masterfully weaved chess match of wit and ingenuity. The scenario deserves all possible accolades and the directing is very sharp indeed.