In 2002, the Hong Kong film industry was at rock bottom. Cinema attendance for local movies had fallen dramatically and the number of productions was also at an all-time low. One film, however, saved the industry from certain doom.
Infernal Affairs is a gripping thriller about two moles – one in the police force and one among the triads – hunting each other down. It smashed box office records, won a slew of awards and was remade four years later into Oscar winner The Departed by director Martin Scorsese. The original was such a success that its backer, Media Asia, and its creators quickly made two sequels within the same year. The Infernal Affairs trilogy is now considered a modern Hong Kong classic and its locations are frequently visited by fans.
Credit: Moviestore collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo / Argusphoto
The most famous Infernal Affairs location is, unfortunately, its least accessible. The roof is the meeting spot for undercover policeman Chan Wing-yan (Tony Leung) and his handler, as well as the location of the final showdown between Chan and undercover triad member Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau). The image of Leung pointing his gun at Lau’s head has become the defining image of the series.
In one of the series’ most memorable scenes, a pivotal character is thrown off the North Point Government Office roof. But thanks to a bit of movie magic, the character lands in front of this building in Sheung Wan. As a result, this seemingly unassuming location has become an essential spot for anyone embarking on a tour of Hong Kong’s cinematic locations.
Credit: Commissioner for Heritage's Office, Development Bureau of the Government of the HKSAR
This old-school building stands in as the Kowloon West Police Station in both Infernal Affairs II and III. After it was left vacant in 2002, the building was used as courthouses or police stations in a number of Hong Kong films, including Motorway and SPL. It’s now the Leadership Institute for the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.
Infernal Affairs II, the Godfather Part II-esque prequel to the original film, features several epic triad-police showdowns. The film’s two biggest and most dramatic were filmed at this hawker centre.
In Infernal Affairs II, this local hotpot joint, tucked inside a small alleyway between industrial buildings, is where the triad bosses meet to scheme and shoot the breeze. You won’t find any top-secret triad meetings at the real restaurant, but you can enjoy traditional hotpot on a coal-lit stove.
The Infernal Affairs trilogy references Avici, the lowest level of hell in Buddhism. So it’s only appropriate that a key scene in Infernal Affairs III, in which triad boss Sam (Eric Tsang) has a meeting with another triad leader, takes place under Hong Kong’s famous ‘’.
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In Infernal Affairs III, the buildings of play the part of the Hong Kong police headquarters. A significant number of interior scenes were filmed in the complex, recognisable by the large floor-to-ceiling windows that offer picturesque views of Telegraph Bay. Its surrounding streets can also be seen in a tense sequence where Lau follows a police officer he suspects of being another mole for the triads.