Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, starring Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Anthony Wong, Francis Ng and Eric Tsang.

Although its name suggests that it's a sequel, 'Infernal Affairs II' is actually a prequel to 2002 Hong Kong cop thriller 'Infernal Affairs', which was released in Ireland earlier this year.

Starring Tony Leung and Andy Lau, that film told the story of police offer Yan, working undercover in the Hong Kong triads but wanting out, and his opposite - gangster Ming who had infiltrated the police force, rising to the rank of sergeant. For flashbacks in 'Infernal Affairs', Shawn Yue played Yan with Edison Chen as Ming. For 'Infernal Affairs II', which explains how Yan and Ming became entangled in their respective situations, the two young actors reprise their roles. Confused yet? Well, you will be. Even those who have seen the first film will be thrown off balance to discover that the role-exchanging duo aren't at the centre of this film, although they might manage to pick the story up faster than is otherwise possible.

With Yan and Ming's individual stories just two in a multitude of subplots, shaky allegiances and double crosses, the easiest thing to do is sit back and enjoy the cinematography until something starts to make sense. Opening with the murder of a triad boss and the consequent shift of power in the HK crime families and police force, 'Infernal Affairs II' is set against the unstable backdrop of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China.

Now a trilogy, for another film - this time an actual sequel to the first 'Infernal Affairs' - has been filmed, directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak seem intent on developing parallels with Francis Ford Coppola's own 'Godfather' trilogy. While 'Infernal Affairs II' doesn't quite have that depth and gravitas, this complicated tragedy is still oddly compelling.

Caroline Hennessy