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Election (HK 2005)

Director : Johnnie To Kei Fung
Screenwriters : Yau Nai Hoi, Yip Tip Shung
Producers : Dennis Law, Johnnie To
Cinematographer : Cheng Siu Keung
Art director : Tony Yu
Editor : Patrick Tam
Music : Lo Tayu

Cast and Characters:
Simon Yam (Lok)
Tony Leung Ka Fai (Big D)
Louis Koo (Jimmy)
Nick Cheung (Jet)
Eddie Cheung Siu Fai (Mr.So)
Lam Suet (Big Head)
Lam Ka Tung (Kun)
Wong Tin Lam (Uncle Teng)
Tam Ping Man (Uncle Cocky)
Maggie Shiu (Mrs. Big D)

Sypnosis
Hong Kong’s oldest triad society is about to elect a new chairman when its sacred emblem, the Dragon Head Baton, goes missing. Five sectional leaders, known as the Tigers, turn all their resources over to retrieving the baton before individual and factional ambitions threaten to break down the society’s central control.

Review
by Gary Cheah

WARNING : Might contain Spoilers

Well, this is a truly Hong Kong’s triad drama. It is different from the usual Hong Kong fare as it strongly focused on the plot and acting (less action) – its all about men mobilizing their power to achieve their aims. Its original and violence portraying the true “underground” world – the realism. Similar to the movie Godfather, its about power and money in the triads associated with dark internal politics.

Its time to elect a a new chairman in the largest and oldest triad, the Wo Shing society. The two competing candidates are Lok (Simon Yam) and the nasty Big D (Leung Kar Fai). Here, Tony Leung Kar Fai pull out a great show from his psychotic role as Big D. Once again, he have proved himself as one of the great actors out there. Nick Cheung as Jet is entirely convincing as the devilish youngster who devoted to the dark society. And as usual Louis Koo reprise his “calm and cool” character as a promising youngster. The rest notable actors are Lam Suet (Big Head) as the loyal follower with many principles, Lam Kar Tung (Kun) as the promising thug and Wong Tin-Lam (Uncle Teng) as the influential and respectable elder in the Wo Shing’s soci

Johnnie To and cinematographer Cheng Siu Keung tries to approach the audience with their semi-darkness shot, which i think its quite good by bringing the “dark” cinematic feeling -together with the atmospheric music from Lo Tayu. The director, To, tend to focus in the realism of a gangster’s view, who are greedy and selfish in order to gain power and money therefore many traditions and disciplines have gone. In the movie – power, money and violence are used in order to reclaim the traditional “baton” (a symbol of triad’s leadership)

There are not many action/fighting scenes in this movie as it has been replaced by pure acting, talking/negotiation and some gruesome scenes. (hitting the head with a log, pushing men in crates down the hill, hitting the head with stone, etc). So if you are dying to watch some bloody gang fight or action-packed fight, you will be left empty-handed. Johnnie To mentioned “the weapons the members of the triads use to promote their arguments and business interest is negotiation. Only the least experienced triad members actually engaged in physical violent and fighting”

The initial movie length was about 3 hours long, the director decided to edit it down to a 90 minutes cut. And its said that there are two different version of Election – the Hong Kong one with a bloody ending and the China one which underlines that crime does not pay. As usual, lets hope they will release the original 3 hours cut on DVD. (btw, Election 2 is on production)

Overall, Election is not a movie for everyone. Its not one of those typical HK triad movies in the 80s-90s which we used to see. If you like Godfather, you might like Election, else stick to the Young and Dangerous series.

Rating
Plot : 3/5
Acting : 4/5
Entertainment : 2/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- gruesome scenes
- chasing the “baton” scenes
- Tony Leung Kar Fai’s character

Buy this movie at  YesAsia – Election

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