Just watched it last night and can’t help but think how much better the original “Infernal Affairs” was compare to “The Departed.” The Departed had wasted its cast power, failed to fully develop the characters, failed to focus on the inner conflict for the two undercover, didn’t make enough of a point in betrayal, and tried but failed to made up with Scorsess’ trade mark violence and sex.
I didn’t feel the inner conflict of Matt Damon the same as Andy Lau. I couldn’t help but feel for Jack when Matt betrayed him while I could understand Andy’s inevitable turn and his trying to be a better person than he was.
I couldn’t feel for Leonardo. He was crying and breaking up after what? SIX MONTHs? Damn! Tony Leung was a undercover for nine years and he didn’t sign up because he chose to, he signed up because that was the only way he could be a cop! Martin Sheen got shafted in his role. There was no time for his character to develop a believable relationship with Leonardo. His screen time was wasted. When he got pushed off the roof, Leonardo wasn’t feeling the loss of his only life-line to the world, there was still Mark, he wasn’t feeling the loss of a trusted friend, there was no friendship, he wasn’t feeling the loss of a fatherly figure, and the only emotion he could have was the shock from the brutality of the murder.
Mark Walhberg and Alec Baldwin got shafted, too. Mark Walhberg was reduced to a foul mouth asshole turned plot device. What do we need him for other than showing up at the end to put Matt out? Alec Baldwin? His whole highlight was to make that stupid speech about marriage at the golf course? COME ON! The only bright spot in this movie is Jack Nicholson. But even his talent is wasted because he had no one but “Mr. French” to play off his evilness. The classic scene of the original Infernal Affair had Jack’s character to confront his counter part in the police station with some of the most memorable moment of the film. Jack has no counter part in “The Departed” and his brilliance was wasted. (The dock encounter was lousy with Martin Sheen making empty threats and Mark Walhberg just running his mouth off.) Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio made lousy under covers, nowhere up to the professionalism showed in the original. Even the confrontation at the end lack the power of the original with the surprise. More dead bodies and more punches and elbows actually subtracted the suspense and the confrontation. There was nothing like the psychological confrontation with the calm manner in the original. Instead, we had elbows flying and a character cracking up crying. Mark Walhberg’s existence actually ruined the helplessness of Leonardo. Unlike the original, logically he didn’t have to do it alone.
“The Departed” is a good movie if only it wasn’t a remake. There is a reason it is not doing well in Hong Kong. The original is much much better plot wise and character wise. The acting was superb in both movie but the script and the direction was the difference. Even though the plot was essentially the same, Infernal Affair was a much better movie.
Watch the original if you haven’t seen it, and see the difference in camera work and characters.