Hong Kong remade itself with "Infernal Affairs". The sensational success of the police-thriller Hong Kong cinema recieved attention again - Asian countries like South Korea and Japan really threatened to outstrip the former home country of the "heroic bloodshed"-classics. The modern classic recieved two sequels.
This final part of the trilogy has two different versions at DVD-release. The shorter one, the "Hong Kong Theatrical Cut" is the original version. "Infernal Affairs III" was called too messy and confusing, and thus, it's rather safe to assume the so-called "Director's Cut", which is being given out three months later, is a concession to the critics. Indeed, the complex story construction of this psychothriller is much clearer now after some really strong scenes have been added, especially towards the end of the movie. Some other, short changes only seem to have been made to recieve a greater length so the seal "Director's Cut" is really deserved. Scenes like the one showing Andy Lau looking for evidence in the police archive were definetly taken from the editing room's garbage can and only by turning a blind eye to them you can say they serve a purpose. Altogether, though, the long version, the "Director's Cut", is the recommended version of this excellent thriller.
All in all, the two versions differ in 7 parts with a total runtime of 10 minutes and 40 seconds.
NTSC-runtimes as follows:
Hongkong Theatrical Cut: 106:52 min.
Director's Cut: 117:32 min.
We find ourselves in a disco. Inside an isolated private room, two older men amuse themselves with younger women, talk on the phone and watch a match of soccer on a big screen. Yeung then enters the room, sitting down next to the men saying nothing. One of the men asks whether they had done anything wrong whereas Yeung only answers he was simply in the mood to punch some guys today. The club owner joins them and talks to Yeung. The men, who come from Taiwan, cannot follow the conversation being held in Cantonese. Yeung explains that the two guys were weapons dealers and that he would like to arrest them. First, the club owner refuses, but he is being beat down by Yeung and blackmailed with cocaine. Finally, we see two of the club owner's men literally sitting on the weapons dealers and beating them up. Yeung proposes the owner to award the two beating guys with a medal. This scene introduces Yeung earlier as the tough and shady cop he really is than the theatrical cut does.( 2 minutes, 35 seconds )
Ming searches his old, completely run-down archive. Despite the massive chaos he finds what he is looking for relatively quickly. In a folder he discovers a file about Shen who he had just seen in a photograph together with Yeung. Then he notices a large sized photo, showing Shen together with the dead mafia boss Sam. Chinese characters have been written on the backside. At the end of the scene, Ming is being called on his cellphone. ( 1 minute, 10 seconds )
In a recreation room Ming talks to his colleagues. He tells them his woman Mary was pregnant now, but they weren't even married. Ming's colleague jokingly proposes abortion, whereas Ming defends himself, saying they were at least fiancés. They then leave the room to return to normal duty.( 24 seconds )
Yan meets SP Wong in a supermart and talks to him about his sessions with psychologist Dr. Lee. He talks about it being tough to concentrate to not say any details about his double life during hypnosis whith having Dr. Lee in front of him, who was such an attractive woman. A scene depicting the friendly relationship between the two men. ( 48 seconds )
The short montage of details shots of the faces of protagonists Yeung, Yan and Ming accompanied by the tragical music theme "Infernal Affairs" and Ming's subsequent attemt to kill himself is shown in the Hong Kong theatrical cut at the point which would equal the Director's cut-runtime at 110:11 minutes. Comparing this time index for the new scene in the Director's Cut. ( no time difference )
The longes and most important extension of the Director's cut. Several scene were added here as follows:
A few cops search Ming's bureau. One of the policemen reports the bullet entered his brain and his spirit was damaged forever. One of the cops takes a dictaphone out of Ming's safe. The cassette features a song from the first "Infernal Affairs"-movie. The telephone rings afterwards. It's Mary and one of the officers tells her that he (Ming) would not be able to make it. The camera moves across the photos of Shen and Yeung which are still lying on Ming's desk. Then the film crossfades to the next scene:
Text-overlay "10 days after Yan's death": Here, we finally see what Shen and Yeung had to tell each other on the roof of the building when said ominous pictures were taken. Shen asks about purpose of Yan's death. Yeung replies that there were things which just had to be done. Then we see Shen sitting at a desk. He watches the surveillance camera through a computer and clicks on the one leading directly into Yeung's office. He looks directly into the camera and says he was absolutely right and holds a cassette into the camera, whereas Shen turns away thoughtfully.
In the next scene we find ourselves in the present again. Dr. Lee wakes up from a seemingly unpleasant sleep. Her mobile phone flashes, it seems she recieved a multi-media message. It's a video of Ming who, just like Yan once, assures her that everyting was going to be fine after the next day. Ming unsettlingly adds that he was going to arrest Ming himself, though.
"One month later" we now see Dr. Lee at Yan's grave. From the background, Shen enters the screen, putting an empty capsule on Yan's grave. He says "take it back" and explains to Dr. Lee that he was the one who made him limp. Then he turns to the grave next to Yan's, lights a cigaretty and puts it in memory of buried Yeung onto the memorial stone. Lee asks whether this man was a friend of Yan, too, and Shen affirms that by telling her they had both been on cadet school. ( insgesamt 5 minutes, 4 seconds )
While the theatrical cut features Ming's suicide here (see time index 103:29), the scene between Dr. Lee and Shen at Yan's and Yeung's graves is continued here. Dr. Lee asks, whether this tragic was destiny whereas Shen answers that purpose was purpose and that events weren't changed by men but vice versa. He continues that, those two men, on the other hand, they actually did change some events. He tells her to let the past rest and that tomorrow was a new day, then Shen disappears. Dr. Lee looks after him, turns back to the grave and starts crying. ( 1 minute, 13 seconds )