Combustible Celluloid
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With: Simon Yam, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Louis Koo, Nick Cheung, Lam Ka Tung, Cheung Siu Fai, Lam Suet, Wong Tin Lam, Tam Ping Man, Maggie Shiu, David Chiang, Yao Yung, Wong Chung, Chan Siu Pang, Yuen Bun
Written by: Yip Tin-shing, Yau Nai-hoi
Directed by: Johnny To
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, with English subtitles
Running Time: 97
Date: 05/14/2005

Election (2005)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Going for the Vote

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Johnny To's sequel Triad Election was released in U.S. theaters in the summer of 2007, and by the end of the year, Tartan had released its predecessor Election on a Region 1 DVD. I saw them out of order, but it didn't particularly matter (although I do prefer the sequel). The action in Election revolves around the battle for the chairman position in the Wo Shing Society. The two top contenders are the volatile Big D (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and the more traditional, rational Lok (Simon Yam). Big D has bribed and threatened the senior members to get their vote, but Lok gets in anyway, so Big D steals the symbol of the chairman's power, the ancient Dragon Head Baton. As with Triad Election, the film's main drive involves plotting and scheming rather than outright violence, though -- unlike the sequel -- the basic good guy-bad guy conflict is pretty standard. (In one scene, Big D nails his enemies into crates and kicks them down a steep hillside.) Fortunately, Lok learns that being a nice guy doesn't get one very far in this kind of business, and he eventually turns into a fascinating character. (Cue the sequel.)

DVD Details: Tartan's Triad Election DVD skimped on the extras, the Election disc is far juicier. It comes with a nice long, sit-down interview with director To, who nurses an expensive-looking cigar. There are also interviews with stars Tony Leung Ka Fai, Simon Yam and Wong Tin Lam, as well as a making-of featurette and trailers.

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