No studio director was a greater hero to the Hong Kong new wave than Martin Scorsese. Now he returns the compliment by remaking Infernal Affairs (2002), the strongest HK action film of the past few years. Its key dramatic roles assumed mainly by cell phones, Infernal Affairs is one of those rare movies in which the premise is the star; Scorsese, however, has necessarily packed his remake with names. Matt Damon plays a rogue cop, with Leonardo DiCaprio as his undercover counterpart. Towering over both youngsters, Jack Nicholson has the meaty role of the patriarchal crime boss. Neither a debacle nor a bore, The Departed works, but only up to a point, and never emotionally -- even if the director does contrive to supply his version of a happy ending. "I don't want to be a product of my environment," Nicholson boasts at the onset. "I want my environment to be a product of me." Yeah, yeah, and that's the problem. Overwrought as The Departed may be, it's nothing that wouldn't have been cured by losing Jack (and maybe half an hour). Too bad the bottom line meant Scorsese had to sell that hambone Mephistopheles his soul.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: William Monahan
Producer: Brad Pitt, Brad Grey, Graham King, Roy Lee, Gianni Nunnari, Doug Davison, G. Mac Brown and Kristin Hahn
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, James Badge Dale, David Patrick O'Hara, Mark Rolston, Kevin Corrigan, Anthony Anderson, Amanda Lynch, Tracey Paleo, Kristen Dalton, Tom Kemp and Gary Lockwood