THE INFERNAL WALKER (无间行者之生死潜行) (DVD) (2020)
SYNOPSIS: The Hong Kong undercover genre gets a new entry with The Infernal Walker, the first in a planned trilogy of films. Directed by Ally Wong and produced by Billy Chung, this Infernal Affairs-meets-Line Walker crime thriller stars triad film regular Michael Tse (Turning Point) as an undercover officer embedded in the triad, and singer-actor Pakho Chau (77 Heartbreaks) as a triad mole embedded in the police force. The film also co-stars Shiga Lin, Ray Lui, Oscar Leung, Kenneth Chan, Benz Hui and Kenny Wong. Ting Cheuk Fei (Michael Tse) has been undercover in the triad for a decade. In order to hide his true identity, he has acted fiercer than the rest, and infiltrated the inner circle of the Fuk Wo syndicate. However, he is growingly increasingly tired of this life. On the other side, triad mole Tuen Yat Fan (Pakho Chau) has risen the ranks in the police force's anti-triad unit, and even has hopes of becoming the youngest chief inspector. Successful in both his career and in love, he yearns to shed his shady past and become a true policeman. Tuen plots to get rid of shadow boss Sung (Kenneth Chan) and his Tung Lei trading company. A drug trade between Fuk Wo and Tung Lei turns out to be a trap to find the moles.
Touted as Infernal Affairs meets Line Walker, this came out-of-nowhere HK crime drama stars “Laughing Gor” Michael Tse, singer-actor Pakho Chau and veterans Ray Lui, Benz Hui and Kenny Wong.
Tse plays an undercover cop, Cheuk Fei who has been working with his handler (Lui) to take down an underworld organisation led by Hei (Benz Hui). Chau on the other hand plays Yat Fan, a high flyer in the police force who is actually a mole raised since young by a powerful triad boss, S (Kenneth Chan). A massive drug deal between Hei and S is about to happen with Cheuk Fei and Yat Fan’s loyalties being tested by their respective bosses. Hei suspects there is a mole inside his organisation while Yat Fan begins to cast doubt over his alliance to S. He wants out since his police career is on the rise and his marriage is on the cards.
Will Yat Fan gets what he wants? And will Cheuk Fei manages to crack the case in the end?
Just to be clear, actors liked Michael Tse and Benz Hui are playing entirely different characters from their respective TVB Lives of Omission and Line Walker series although they are somewhat similar to the average viewer on the surface. Writer Sun Zirong and director Ally Wong tries hard to churn out a busy, thrilling crime drama but lacks the deep philosophical and religious tone of the original Infernal Affairs.
Cheuk Fei is supposed to be the main character but his storyline is often overshadowed by Yat Fan and thus relegated to more or less a glorified supporting role. Amusingly, Cheuk Fei spends most of the time acting tough, running around in circles and engaging in some intimate talk with his love interest. Chau gets the meat of the movie as his love partner is murdered halfway through thus triggering him into revenge mode in the later part of the movie. However, owing to the constraint of the plotting and runtime, the characters of Cheuk Fei and Yat Fan are never fully developed especially Chuek Fei who probably deserved another movie outing.
Tse has been playing the seemingly cool triad member/undercover cop persona for decades at least we know he is still the same “Laughing Gor” despite a change in name. For Chau, he has been in a couple of major TVB productions in recent times so his acting has been improving by leaps and bounds due to TVB aggressive “training”. The Infernal Walker can be easily mistaken as a TVB movie since it features lots of familiar faces from the tv circuit. And instead of Francis Ng and Anthony Wong, we get people liked Benz Hui, Ray Lui and the always menacing Ben Ng doing as little to earn a paycheck.
On an obvious limited budget, Ally Wong did delivered a mildly entertaining crime drama although it’s obvious a copy-and-paste effort. There are occasional shootouts, perfunctory footchases and a wide display of luxurious cars liked Porsche, Lamborghini because it’s a must-have item for a triad member it seems. By the way, this production came from Universe Entertainment who brought us Shockwave 2 recently and is rumoured to be the first in a trilogy. Since it’s also mainland financed, do expect an assuring, closing credit that explains that all the baddies are sentenced to life imprisonment for their crimes. How convenient for the scriptwriter.
The DVD delivers a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which features a clear Cantonese audio track and surround effects when it calls for it. Visual quality is commendable for a DVD.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee