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PHOTOGRAPHY

ELECTION
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 97 minutes, four interview featurettes, making of featurette, original trailer, previews

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: Cantonese/ Mandarin 5.1, 2.0 Dolby Surround, 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English, Spanish (feature film only)

STUDIO: Tartan Asia Extreme (Tartan Video)/ China Star Entertainment/ Milky Way Image Company/ One Hundred Years Of Film Company
RELEASE DATE: 11-6-2007

In an odd release schedule, Tartan Video first released TRIAD ELECTION (aka ELECTION 2), the sequel to ELECTION, to DVD a couple of months before ELECTION. I held off from watching TRIAD ELECTION and I now can watch it since I seen ELECTION. I don't know why Tartan did it that way, but I do try to watch the first film before any sequels.

ELECTION was Director Johnny To's take on the general elections in Hong Kong by using the Triads as a way to look at it while delving into the history and traditions of the Chinese Mafia (aka the Triads). Every two years, the senior members of the Wo Shing (Hong Kong's oldest Triad society) elect a new chairman. The two up for the position is gentleman businessman Lok (Simon Yam) and loud (and violent) Big D (Tony Leung Ka Fai). Lok wins and this sends Big D on a course to defy the election and try to claim the position for himself. The symbol of leadership, the Dragon's Head Baton, goes missing because the old chairman (Whistle) refuses to hand it over after Big D tells him not to. A search is on the baton which could very well create a war within the Triad between Lok and big D. The police try to keep the peace and prevent a war.

ELECTION is a thinking man's thriller. It is a Hong kong crime drama that looks at Hong Kong in a very different way. The main characters are criminals out to maintain balance and order while out for profit and honor. Lok and Big D are dynamic opposites. The actors help show it. One has to remain calm through most of the film while the other one has to make sure his performance isn't too over-the-top. The actions of both sides fuel the film. ELECTION manages to surprise you at every corner. The film shows a different approach to fighting crime. The Anti-Triad Unit knows they can't take down all the Triads, but they know it is in the best interests of everyone to prevent a war (they even jail all the top members and set out to get them to have the members settle tehir differences without a war). ELECTION provides the building blocks I hope are continued into TRIAD ELECTION.

SPECIAL FEATURES: THE MAKING OF ELECTION is a short promo featurette which is the weakest extra on the disc. The almost 30 minute interview with Director Johnnie To provides the most insight into the film (and a little bit on teh sequel). Also included are inetrviews with actors Tony Leung ka Fai, Simon Yam, and Wong Tin Lam in addition to trailers for ELECTION and six other Tartan Asia Extreme releases (TRIAD ELECTION, ANOTHER PUBLIC ENEMY, OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE, and others).

FINAL ANALYSIS: If you haven't seen TRIAD ELCTION, start with ELECTION. If you have seen the sequel, watch it again after seeing ELECTION. It is one of the best films from Hong Kong out from Tartan this year.


this DVD review is (c)11-13-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com look for additional content at http://enterline-media.tripod.com andhttp://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com