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ª| (2005)

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 09/11/2012
Summary: Top shelf Triad drama...

Johnnie To’s winning “Election” opens with the inevitable bribes that come before the vote for the new head of the Wo Sing Triads. Lam Lok (Simon Yam) and Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) are vying for the position, and as the final ballot is cast, Lam Lok appears to be the victor. This sets the already violent and unpredictable Big D into a rage, causing him to start to take vengeance against those heads that opposed him and to steal the symbolic baton that the leader is entrusted to hold until his term is over. The hunt for the baton take members from the two rival factions to mainland China, where it changes hands multiple times depending on which deals are being cut back in Hong Kong. It’s a frenetic race to get it into the hands of the desired triad head and when things don’t work out in Big D’s favor, he decides to split his group off from Wo Sing, causing a major headache for all involved.

Yam and Ka-Fai are two acting heavyweights in Hong Kong, and they don’t disappoint in Election. They are polar opposites in terms of their personalities; Yam is quiet and stoic, preferring to deal with issues through negotiation and gentle persuasion (until pushed to the limit), while Big D (Ka-Fai) takes a more direct approach that usually involves copious amounts of violence. There is a fantastically tense scene in which Yam and Ka-Fai wait at a stoplight with a proposal from Yam hanging in the balance. Ka-Fai has done such a good job of making Big D an unpredictable character that I had no idea what path he would choose. Moments like that are rare in films these days. The only weak point is the confusion that comes from the race for the baton in Mainland China. It’s very difficult to remember who is working for whom and where character’s loyalties lie. If done intentionally by To, it’s very effective. If not, it detracts a bit from the overall plot. Tough to beat in the Triad film realm though, highly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 07/21/2010
Summary: tea is ready...

wo shing, one of hong kong's oldest and largest triad societies is on the cusp of holding its biannual election to vote in a new chairman. the two candidates are lok (simon yam) and big d (tony leung ka-fai). lok is a mild mannered, level headed, single father, popular with members of the society, respected and keen to ensure the business of wo shing continues to expand for all the member's benefit. big d is almost like a cartoon character; loud, brash, impulsive and uncouth, he is attempting to buy the election, with the wealth he has generated.

it should come as no surprise that big d, upon losing the vote, doesn't take kindly to the news that lok has been chosen. infighting begins to rear its head and there is talk of all out war. as senior members of the society try to negotiate and seek a resolution, loyalties are tested when it comes to the collection of a ceremonial baton that is traditionally held by the chairman. will lok be able to exert his newly delegated authority before war is declared...

bloody hell, is it really five years since this came out? has it really taken me five years to watch this? yes and yes...

well, i have a policy of trying my best to avoid reading about films that i intend to watch regardless, so i'd pretty much steered clear of any reviews of this. now, having watched it and read some reviews, i'm pretty shocked to find that it is not being universally lauded as something quite amazing.

cat III rated, apparently due to its accurate depiction of triad traditions and practice, the film does little to glorify the lifestyle: a picture is painted which shows respect and adherence to traditions, only when it suits those who are willing to go the extra distance to get what they want. when people get in the way of making money and introduce a threat to the (extremely profitable) status quo which exists, rules go out of the window until things get back on track. honour and righteousness are secondary to business.

still, the film isn't simply an examination of the procedural, with a bit of bickering thrown in for good measure; building a narrative round the personalities of two main characters and how they react to the results of the election, director, johnnie to crafts an intriguing drama, laced with moments of tension and touches of humour, showcasing something which is probably a lot closer to the truth than the usual hong kong triad movie. the differences between the stereotypical, larger than life big d and the reserved lok, who one may never suspect has the temperament to be the head of a triad organisation, make for a fascinating watch, as do the machinations of the lower ranked and seniors of wo shing and the soap opera which unfolds. although, it's hard to fully discuss and explore the intricacies of to's approach, without spoiling the narrative of the film; suffice to say that the end result is well worth watching.

as i have come to expect, milkyway churn out a technically proficient piece of cinema and, stocked with members of to's regular acting troupe; lam suet, maggie sui, nick cheung etc... with simon yam taking the lead, performing admirably as you'd imagine. added to the equation is big tony leung who is perfect for the task of making the unrealistic big d appear as more than just a caricature.

cracking stuff...

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 04/20/2009

As the story opens in the sharp edged and ultraviolent “Election” the leaders of two factions are vying for leadership of the Wo Sing organization. Some of the tactics are commonplace: vote for me and I will give you a stack of money while others are less traditional: vote for me or I will kill you and your family. At first there is no consensus concerning the next chairman. Lok is a low-key, efficient criminal bureaucrat who is as ruthless as any scoundrel in Hong Kong but one who likes to keep his villainy quiet. Big D is flamboyant and flashy, happy to run his criminal operations on an almost ad hoc basis, making up the rules as he goes along.

While it seems there is a clear cut choice between the two candidates there are conflicting loyalties among the electors, the seniors or uncles of Wo Sing. Some favor Big D because he promises to expand their territory while others like Lok who promises a better cut from payoff for illegal activities. There are also personal ties—Lok paid to have the body of a brother who had been killed in Cambodia brought back and given a funeral while Big D paid a brother’s bail out of his own pocket. Both have what seems to be unlimited access to neatly folded stacks of bank notes which they pass out the way Andrew Carnegie gave away dimes. The basic unit of exchange is $100,000 (HK). Things are further complicated when Big D shows an uncontrollable temper which scares some of the electors and angers others.

Then there is the baton, a carved wooden totem that symbolizes leadership of Wo Sing. A significant part of the movie concerns each side trying to possess it with hijackings, near fatal assault--Lam Suet is beaten with a huge log while repeating to his assailant the basis of the Triad oath—if he betrays a brother he will be killed with ten thousand knives, if he embezzles from a brother he will be killed with 500 thunderbolt—and murder by chopper. Once the baton is finally recovered from its hiding place on the Mainland after a huge expenditure of blood and treasure it isn’t referred to again. The baton is a perfect MacGuffin, a plot element becomes central to the action of the plot but has no bearing on the outcome. The Wo Sing baton joins such notable MacGuffins as the letters of transit in “Casablanca”, the statue of the bird in “The Maltese Falcon” and the contents of the briefcase in “Pulp Fiction”.

Things break in Lok’s favor when Big D threatens to start a “New Wo Sing Organization”. Even the Anti-Corruption and Triad cops are concerned about this development—they are frankly concerned with peace and harmony in the underworld, allowing everyone thrive and no one getting hurt. Big D finally capitulates. He and Lok collaborate on the ambush and murder of an important rival and things seem calm in Triadville. The last scenes take place in a peaceful bucolic—Lok and his son, Big D and his wife sitting on a river bank fishing. It ends with sudden, frightening and very cold-blooded violence.

An excellent crime drama from the masterful Johnny To with the additional fillip scene of Triad initiation.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Beat TG
Date: 07/09/2008
Summary: New kind of gangster movie

This movie sure has alot of tension while it rolls from the start till it ends, which can't be said the first time I saw it (wasn't that much into To nor Milkyway then)! I'm simply amazed. As far as this triad portrayal goes, I guess it's not so remarkable because we have seen how this gets passed on from film to film, from theme to theme, from style to style and so on and by this point you get the feeling that HK gangster movies of this age will never reach another prime but will only restrict the genre for it's conventions any further. But ELECTION should be the piece to break the mold because it offers something more meaningful, deeper and non-exaggerating to drive the story, all whilst succeeding in every way possible. To begin with, the movie kind of tells insights of the underworld in docu-style and while this has been done before (Kirk Wong's THE CLUB, Taylor Wong's TRIADS: THE INSIDE STORY etc), where the filmmakers were covering up real triad life experiences through contacts whom were actual gangsters, imagine this as something you gather up yourself as if you were a real gangster yourself and you knew it all inside and out; pretty much what goes on in the entire crime organization. Put in other terms, the movie is like a part of remaining parts of the whole but it's much bigger and loaded with valuable details as standpoints for underworld activities, mind you that this is in no way something bad nor good to show about the triads in nature but rather how and why they operate they way they do outside the common society itself. I think this has never been materialized before and so should be granted for doing something original and remarkable for the genre (proving that HK crime genre has more to offer) that will go down in history.

Acting-wise, there's alot to take notice of. It seems that Johnnie To have done careful research on the triads; their businesses, their attitudes; everything (who knows, maybe he has family members who are in the triads or he himself was one... It's so obvious that he gets this knowledge from reliable sources). Simon Yam, as the silent and calm type, indicates the smart, bright and precautioned triad leader who acts when he's got to, make the right choices when things get critical, and keeping things very low-key (triads are very secretive in nature opposed to what has been said by the public). Tony Leung Ka Fai is the opposite: a leader who likes to take initiative by using brute violence, go against rules and traditions. He's an individual who is unlike the traditional leaders, one among the new generation, and has other goals to reach. Even when he’s following the old-fashioned way, his attitude always get in the way and that means his mind and methods are meant to build up new rules and a new tradition. The characterization is simply brilliant! This also goes for other characters (all the Uncles, their men etc); those whom are supporting one another based on their needs and choices in life. Even those outside the organization have their ways of doing what they have to do for themselves and for others. That said, every character is driven by their own strengths and weaknesses and that is used to give the story more than what its theme does, not to mention that all the actors do a great effort transforming themselves into these lively characters!

Johnnie To is once again on fire and shows that he hasn't lost his touch and keeps expanding his knowledge and ideas as adaptively and creatively as ever. You know To, you know his game. The same style, a different approach.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 03/24/2008

Triad by-elections prove no less malicious than those held in modern democracies as candidates and their supporters vie for supremacy by any means necessary in Johnnie To's "Election."

To, whose post handover work has included every genre under the sun but has been dominated by action pictures, gritty crime films, heroic bloodshed, and violent dramas is rarely a bore though he's only occasionally compelling. Here he hands over the wheel to the film's stars; the two candidates whose ying and yang personalities steer the dialogue-driven drama around many a pothole, narrow lane, and sharp turn.

The ever interchangeable Simon Yam is Lam Lok, a cool-under-fire single father whose election to the Chairman of the Wo Sing Society will surely mean longevity and prosperity for the triad.

Lam's opponent Big D (Tony Leung Ka-fai, who inhales the screen every time he's on it) by contrast is a hotheaded loud mouth who has the heart of a weasel and wears his cunningness on his sleeve.

Fanboys of kitschy stylized action (not unlike To's own "Fulltime Killer") will no doubt be bored to tears with this enticing triad entry whose violence is savage but sparse.

Louis Koo co-stars in what really is nothing more than an extended cameo and Shaw Brothers veteran David Chiang turns up as a Chief Inspector of Police.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 11/05/2007

The Wo Sing Triad is one of the biggest crime organisations in Hong Kong with an estimated membership of 50,000. Every two years, the leader is elected by a council of elders (or “uncles”), and this year’s contenders are Lok (Simon Yam) and Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai). When Big D loses the contest fair and square, he doesn’t take it well and threatens to steal the power from under his rival, something Lok will not allow. The chase is on for the century-old baton which will bestow official leadership to the head of the Wo Sing group, and possibly start a horrific civil war in the process.

ELECTION’s tale of warring Triads, corruption, tradition, political allegories and spoon-eating psychopaths (yes, you read that right) was nominated for a whole bunch of Golden Horse awards in 2006 and even won a few (including Best Picture and Best Director). It is a very well presented film with a great acoustic guitar theme, and Johnny To again shows he’s great at shooting exteriors. The characters are mostly great and believable, but I was quite surprised when I heard that the Tony Leung that was in this film was Leung Ka-Fai and not Leung Chiu-Wai. Maybe To made a mistake and hired the wrong one and couldn’t back out, but this particular Leung overcooks it a bit in my opinion in this one. Yam is excellent as the more restrained Lok, a gangster who also has to contend with family life with his son and I particularly liked Wong Tin-Lam as Teng Wai, a very human “uncle”. Old Shaw Brothers superstar David Chiang also gets a role as an anti-Triad police officer, which surprised me – I thought he’d retired to Canada years ago!

The film does play well as a serious look at organised crime and the consequences of being in such an organisation, but it also has flashes of comedy (such as when the representatives of Lok and Big D resort to sabotaging each other’s cars) which is sometimes very dark. There are also moments of suspense and action when the ceremonial baton is unearthed and transported from the Mainland to Hong Kong. Whoever owns the baton is seen to be in control of the Society, and this means that those who want it will stop at nothing to obtain it.

ELECTION is not an action film or a “Heroic Bloodshed” film; it is more of a crime drama, and one scene reminded me strongly of a scene from Krzysztof Keislowski’s A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not light and fluffy either. It’s also a little confusing in places, which I’m coming to understand is par for the course with a Johnnie To film. I’m thinking another viewing will probably yield more appreciation. I’m not sure if this film is meant to be a satire on the corruptive nature of democracy, but I’m pretty sure one of the lessons taught by the film is that patience is a virtue. Either that or don’t accept invitations to go fishing with someone you once screwed over.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/28/2007
Summary: quite compelling

Election is "le dernier chef d'oeuvre du cinéma du directeur renommé de film de Hong Kong, M. Johnnie To". Compared to his previous recent efforts like the police thriller PTU [2003] and the surrealistic Throw Down [2004], this movie is more of a straight-line narrative that pushes the darkest elements of human nature to the foreground. Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Simon Yam Tat-Wah play the two leading contenders for the job of top triad bad guy, a process which has a long, sordid, and detailed history.

One school of thought feels that voting should go according to traditional values while the other school of thought takes an "anything goes" approach to win at any cost. "Traditional values" are mostly bribes, payoffs, and an occasional broken and/or severed limb. Sometimes people take the money and don't deliver the goods. When that happens, things can get troublesome. Sometimes you have to keep your friends close, but you have to keep your enemies closer. Mr. To and Executive Director Law Wing-Cheong show us the nasty underbelly of Hong Kong criminal enterprises. Election is quite compelling. You can't stop watching.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Chinoco
Date: 07/28/2006
Summary: Not all that exciting

This is another very difficult movie to review. I really wanted to like this one more than I did. I even re-watched it later to hopefully get more out of it. Sadly I really didn't enjoy it more, or get anything else from it after the second viewing.

The movie is about the election process for one of the HK Triad’s (supposed) most famous and historical branches- the Wo Sing Society. Apparently a new leader is chosen in an election process every two years. It's a race that money alone can't buy as pointed out when a Triad elder mentions that the richest man is not just awarded the position. Politics, charm, bribes, and of course back-stabbing, appear to be useful skills needed to win the election.

The main two candidates are: Lok (Simon Yam), a seemingly honorable and intelligent man, who is well respected by his colleges; and Bid D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), an out of control flashy gangster-style Triad that acts first and thinks later. When it looks like Lok will walk away with the election, Big D decides to steal the famous Dragon Head baton; which is the highly respected symbol of leadership amongst the Wo Sing. The baton is so important that Lok and some of his leading supporters believe that civil war will break out unless Lok can recover it.

Several other characters have crucial roles here, including Nick Cheung as Jet, Lam Suet as Big Head, and more importantly Louis Ko as Jimmy. Jet is a tough as nails mid-level Triad. He is so tough that he even eats a ceramic spoon upon request! Although limited in brains, his stregth and loyalty proove to be valuable assets. Jimmy plays an important role in going to mainland China to retrieve the Baton for Lok, but after that he fades away from the film. Big Head is thrown in there for a sense of Triad toughness and loyalty, as well as some comic relief.

Once Lok gains control of the Baton, his character begins to change, or to reveal his true self- I guess that part is left up to the viewer. He begins a vast takeover attempt within the Wo Sing organization to remove any obstacles or people that get in his way. All this leads to a very sudden and surprising ending.

I felt that the ending was fairly rushed; and it was, due to a sequel that appeared to be already in the works at the time of filming. As I said, I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. That was difficult however, due to only one decent action scene (the hunt for the baton), and very limited character development. Simon Yam delivered an excellent performance; but his character Lok, spends almost the entire first half of the movie in jail! I felt more time could have been used showing his balancing act between being a single parent raising his son, and being a ruthless Triad leader. Some of these scenes MAY have actually been filmed, as there are rumors of a three-hour version of Election out there somewhere.

After my second viewing I was hoping that maybe this movie was just a lead in to Election 2; and that would be why it seemed a little lacking in story and development. Check out my review of Election 2 to find out if that was the case.

Honorable mention goes to the amazingly cool guitar theme music played throughout the film!

I am grading this movie as a stand-alone effort.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 04/24/2006
Summary: Great cinema or a so-so movie.

The basic story is the competition between two triad leaders to replace the current No. 1 uncle, whose term has expired. One (Tony Leung as Big D) is a short tempered, violent man, obsessed with being on top. The other (Simon Yam as Lok) is more thoughtful, in control of his emotions, but ultimately just as violent and just as obsessed with being number one. The election takes place within what we're given as historic triad processes (I don't know whether they're accurate or not, but the question is probably irrelevant).

The movie begins just before the voting, which is done by the "uncles," who are the leaders of the individual gangs within the Wo Sing gang. We see a little of the jockeying, pursuasion, and bribery used by the two candidates. But when the results are in, Big D refuses to accept his defeat and continues to try to obtain the leadership position. Most of this post-election electioneering involves a race to gain possession of the symbol of the No. 1 position, a short, carved staff. (I couldn't see exactly what it looked like, so if its appearance had meaning it was lost on me.)

On the surface, it's a glimpse into the inner workings and rituals of Triad society and plays as a sort of documentary. But it seems to me that it's actually a portrait of the communist party, and specifically how it operates in China. If this is correct, Triads = Communism and Wo Sing = Chinese Communism. The uncles equate to the Party leadership. Both the party leadership and the uncles appearing to live with honor within the codes of an insitution but actually taking part in a ruthless, no-holds-barred struggle for ultimate power.

I would have enjoyed Election more if Tony Leung, who played Big D as a vicious sub-human, would have toned down his performance a little in order to make the character a little more believable; and Simon Yam, who sleep-walked through the movie, would have put a little more life into Lok. In their defense, it may be that the director wanted them to be a little one dimensional in order to represent a class of person rather than an actual one.

It's a well-crafted movie, but a little on the self-important side. If I'm wrong about the analogy to Communism, then it's just a stylish movie without much depth. However, if I'm right and if this gets screen time or DVD release on the Mainland, my sincere congratulations to Johnnie To for a job well done.

My rating: 9 if it's a metaphor for communism, 6 if it's just a triad movie.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/04/2006
Summary: so slow paced......

The movie felt like a anti climax.
Nothing much happens
A sequel is probably coming, due to the success of the movie at the box office.
I cant see how the CAt 3 rating is justisfied

Tony Leung is over the top
Nick Cheung just doesnt have the look of a crazy guy
Louis Koo is barely in it
Simon yam plays his role like he didnt have to act
Action is limited
I cant imagine the 3 hour version of this movie, would it make it better or just make it even more boring

i cant recommend this movie

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/18/2006
Summary: 7/10 - enigmatic

I'm not sure what to make of this film after a first viewing - Johnnie To produces another head-scratcher. For the first hour things are going well, with a slow-burning story about a power struggle in the Triads gradually building in intensity towards what one assumes is an inevitable climax... but then it all goes a bit surprising, with things not working out at all as tradition would seem to dictate, andthe plot moving off in several different directions so you keep thinking the films about to finish and it's not. When it did reach its end, I was left thinking "hmmm", feeling rather unfulfilled.

The first hour is certainly good though - understated and carried by the performances of a large and respectable cast of actors. The cinematography is quite unusual, leaving the actors faces in shadow for much of the film, often lit from behind or above. To does not feel the need to explain every plot point to the viewer, crediting us with enough intelligence to follow what's going on without stopping for exposition. The characters develop gradually, as do the relationships between them all. I certainly felt like I had a good grasp of what was happening, but events after the 1 hour mark make me question whether I did... characters do not seem to act consistently with the impression I had of them before then. I will have to watch it again and see if it changes my interpretations, but I suspect it's the film and not me.

The film has famously earned a Category III rating, for its inclusion of authentic-seeming Triad ceremonies and hand-signs. It's not clear why To felt the need to include these, except to test the censors and perhaps gain some publicity. It can't be argued that the film "glorifies" the Triad lifestyle - it's a pretty candid look at Triads in the modern world, and the coda explaining the origins of the Triads as patriotic rebels certainly seems at odds with the money-minded gangsters pictured in the film. There is talk of honour and loyalty, and some of the Triads seem to live by this code whilst others see it purely as a commercial enterprise. The film doesn't seem to come down particularly for or against Triads in the end, though there are several scenes that would certainly make me question whether it's a life I'd choose. I think To wanted to present a more honest, accurate picture than the romanticised films like Young & Dangerous or A Better Tomorrow. It must be said that this probably makes the film rather less entertaining though.

ELECTION was rumoured to have been planned as a 3 hour epic, severely shortend to under 100 minutes for its theatrical and dvd release. It's hard to see where another 80 minutes would go - the plot doesn't feel like there are big holes, and no scenes feel underdeveloped or abbreviated (as in Seven Swords, for example). It's also hard to see where things will go for the sequel, which is already in development. Johnnie To can definitely be an enigma when he wants to be!

Preliminary score: 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/17/2006
Summary: Disappointing, but still good

Johnnie To is best known for his quirky crime thrillers like The Mission, but most of his output (both as a producer and director) over the past couple of the years has been more mainstream fare like Yesterday Once More. Election seemingly marked a return to "classic" To fare; even the production of the movie resulted in some controversy when the production was slapped with a Category III rating (Hong Kong's version of the NC-17 label) due to its' "glorification" of Triad gangs. This sort of story only served to whet the appetite of many, and Election becme one of the most anticipated pictures of the year. But To takes the film in a direction which may puzzle or even downright infuriate fans of his older work.

Election's plot concerns the naming of the new leader of the Wo Shing "society", the largest gang in Hong Kong. There are two leading candidates: Lok (Simon Yam), a diplomat who has wheeled and dealed his way to the top, and Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), a hot-head who used intimidation and bribery to further his career. Uncle Teng (Wong Tin-Lam), one the most influential Wo Shing members, doesn't trust Big D and so convinces the other senior members to vote for Lok. The news doesn't sit well with Big D, who hatches a plan to steal the gang's ceremonial scepter in an attempt to wrangle control from Lok.

The plot might sound simliar to many of Johnnie To's other crime pictures, but the execution is not. It's missing a bit of the spark that made movies like A Hero Never Dies so great. I'm not saying Election is bad by any means -- it's actually quite good -- but if you're expecting The Mission, or something in that caliber, you'll probably be disapointed because there is seemingly so much wasted potential. This is brought to light through both of the performances of Simon Yam and Tony Leung Ka-Fai. They're good, but both characters end up feeling empty to the viewer because we don't know that much about them. To usually does a wonderful job in fleshing out characters, but both Lok and Big D feel underdeveloped, and more minor characters (such as Uncle Teng) barely get any screen time.

Supposedly, the initial cut of Election ran three hours (the theatrical and video versions run at about ninety-nine minutes), so this halving of the footage might explain why everything feels half-full at the end of the picture. Just as things are going along interestingly, the story takes a sharp turn and goes into a conclusion with a sudden, almost shockingly violent, end. This feels like a cheap way to end the picture, especially since it became widely known that To started work on a sequel shortly after this movie was released. Was To intentionally holding back to leave room for the sequel?

These "flaws", I admit, are probably more of my personal nit-picking than anything else, but 2005 was a pretty lackluster year for Hong Kong movies, and I was holding on to some shred of hope that Johnnie To would be able to pull out some sort of Chirstmas miracle and craft another home run, especially since Election was entered into the Cannes film festival (which is still a pretty big deal for a HK production). Judging from the result of Election and the other "big" films of the year like Seven Swords (which marked the beleagured Tsui Hark's attempt re-attain greatness in the director's chair) Hong Kong is going to need to find another big director besides Steven Chow (who only makes one movie every two years) to create big hits for both Asian and Western audiences if they're going to be an economically viable center for film production.

Most of the HK directors, like To, seem to be stuck in a place cinematically between the two cultures, and Election is another example of how this conflict has resulted in (at most times) watered-down versions of the cinematic entires of the 80's and '90's that established Hong Kong as a cinematic powerhouse. Again, Election isn't a bad film per se. It's just that it -- like way too many recent releases from all over the world over the past year -- is disappointing, especially considering the cast and crew involved.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7