The Film: Mou gaan dou [Infernal Affairs Trilogy] – China
Here’s another film that was subject to a remake. Only this time it went the usual direction, foreign-language to English-language. And like yesterday’s film, this one also stars Andy Lau. It’s great to see both sides of such a versatile actor.
The first thing to know about Infernal Affairs is that’s it awesome. Everything about it is tight, smart, and compelling. The second thing is that it’s a trilogy. And while it does stand alone, they’re best served together.
The Infernal Trilogy adds a new layer to the cat and mouse game not only between the cops and gangsters but in the storytelling itself. The the films, individually and as a whole, play with time is strikingly witty.
Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai are the strongest pairing in part I. Edison Chen, Shawn Yue take over in the prequel, part II. Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Andy Lau are back in part III. What’s also deeply enjoyable through the three films is the development of the leaders from both sides, Wong Chi Shing and Hon Sam. Their stories are the glue that holds the series together.
The greatest thing about the trilogy is there are no cheap moments. It’s true the third film is the weakest, but there’s still plenty to enjoy. The setups and payoffs could play cold or cheesy, as they do in Scorsese’s ripoff The Departed, but instead they’re shocking and sharp.
I watched the three films as a marathon and enjoyed every single moment. When the first ended I had no idea how they would re-enter the world. And again at the end of the second film I couldn’t see a way forward, but the final film completes the trilogy in a way that I found to be satisfying. It’s a complete world.
Except no substitutes.
Holiday Spirit: +2
The Food: Pounded Almond Chicken
This was a happy accident. What was thought to be almond meal turned out to be a Hong Kong style almond powder, a sweetened drink mix. It’s strong and sugary but I really wanted to take it in a savory direction.
The great thing about this meal was that it was filling but light. I love Chinese food, especially egg foo young, for the hearty properties and heavy sauces but it was nice to make a this simple meal and be secure in it’s balance of salt and overall increased level of health consciousness.
Cut the chicken through the middle, creating four pieces. Pound the chicken to your desired thickness. I prefer mine to be quite thin as it still tastes great and you can fool the eye into thinking you have more on your plate than you do. The amount of panko depends on how thin you make your chicken.
Mix the almond powder, garlic, powder, and black pepper to taste.
Turn on your pan on medium and put in a small amount of oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, egg, and panko. Place in the hot pan, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and the panko is browned.
- Almond Powder
- Chicken bullion
- Corn starch
- Black pepper
The proportions you chose are decided by the amount you want to make and your preferred tastes. Add the almond powder and bullion to the water and heat. In a separate bowl add cold water to the corn starch and stir until dissolved. Add to the pot and stir as needed. The sauce will thicken up as it’s heated through. Make sure to make enough for the rice too, it’s delicious!
As I had leftover chicken, on the second serving I made a delicious side dish.
- 3 small zucchini
- 1 green onion
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Dash of sesame oil
- Dash of soy sauce
- Pinch of 5 spice powder
Cut the zucchini into half and then slice thinly. Add the zucchini and green onion to a pan with a littler hot oil. Stir fry to soften. Add the sesame, oils, spices, and sambal to taste. A little goes a long way. Continue cooking until the vegetables are soft.
Holiday Spirit: +3