Almost everyone familiar with Hong Kong films knows the names Andrew Lau, Andy Lau, and Tony Leung. Andrew Lau is known for his prolific director skills, and Andy Lau and Tony Leung for their successful acting careers. Andy Lau has starred in many blockbuster hits including 2004's best film, "House of Flying Daggers".
"Infernal Affairs", is a collaboration by all 3 men mentioned above. Other cast members include Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Edison Chen, and Shawn Yue. The Chinese title refers to the ultimate level of hell in Buddhism, literally means "The Non-Stop Way".
The English title, while similarly having connotations of Dante's Inferno, is a play on words on internal affairs.
"Infernal Affairs" isn't a masterpiece by any means, but at the time of its release, it stood head and shoulders above all others in its class, making it an international sensation.
The film is about a cat and mouse game between a cop working as a mole in a criminal organization and a criminal working as a mole in the police department, and both men's attempts to uncover the identity of the other.
The film opens with a novel premise. Sam (Eric Tsang), a rising criminal kingpin, assembles together a group of young men from his gang; the men have no criminal records, and thus are still untainted by their gang affiliation. Sam has come to the realization that trying to beat the system is a losing battle, and hatches a plan to send his clean cut young men to the police academy, where they will infiltrate it, rise up the ranks, and become his informants. Things don't quite work out as Sam expected, and only Ming (Andy Lau) makes it into the police academy.