ELECTION 2 (2006) HK
review by Neo

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Spooky? Funny? Yeah!
In 2006 HK Cinema, few movies warrant a second viewing, but clearly Election 2 is one that improves in its 2nd running. Johnny To is a versatile director and needless to say, whatever tension that is lacking in its sequel, Johnny makes up for it with twice the brutality and further destruction of those in power. While the first film emphasis on one struggle for power and its ability to corrupt even the most ingenious of humanity, the second one further this notion, that the only way to secure power is through eliminating all its challengers. Perhaps Bush is right - "you are either with us or against us" as this notion is never proved so strongly correct. Needless to say, Election 2 is already fast becoming of the finest work from the little territory this year.

One of the most memorable yet shocking scenes is without doubt the chopping sequence of arms, legs and body parts of a living person and then churning it out into dog food. Fear is a factor that allows those in power to control the masses. It is at that moment that Louis Koo becomes a greater evil than Simon Yam. His goal is money, not triad power and glory. The saying goes: “money is the root of all evil” and at that moment, Koo have metamorphoses into a wild animal – crazy and no longer human. It is crazy to imagine what one can do for money as Koo’s silent assassin screams out: “Add money” repetitively even the moment before he die, is both humorous yet bitterly ironic. In dicing a human into dog food, Johnny alludes to 90s’ human pork chop movies and most notably – The Untold Story starring Anthony Wong. That was a heck of a disgusting, yuck and stomach turning piece of gem. Luckily, Election 2 does not exactly show the vivid scene in full detail, or else it will probably break even the most carefree of censorship boards.

Like in the first film, the only way to survive in the dark underworld is to remain in power, as the Chinese saying goes: “one mountain can not shelter two tigers.” Unlike the 1st film, Simon Yam takes a back seat, despite showing some quite credible acting chops. His expression upon kicking the old man down the stairs is calculatingly evil and so is the memorable expression as he holds on to the leader baton, with the type of grin hiding behind an ambitious smile. He is ultimately ambitious, yet an extremely flawed character. Louis Koo takes on the leading role, this time around in full force and perhaps one of his finest performances in years since Bullet Over Summer. His aim for business and money is noteworthy and the ambition hidden within the scene where he chops up arms and legs is equally startling to watch. A much underrated actor deserves to appear in more material like this. Other appears here and there and Lam Suet is once again funny in a cameo role. As usual Nick Cheung is fast becoming one of the coolest actors in HK cinema.

Following Neo’s statements above of this being 2006’s finest work isn’t really an understatement, despite the poor quality of productions in most HK films. To have been able to embark a sequel that matches the original is alone a heck of an achievement. It is a beautiful piece of work and along with the ironic trademark finale, Johnny is back on the circuit. With many more productions ahead, one can only expect heaps better shit to be made. Yes, to be perfectly honest, it is disgusting, but at the same time, it is damn good to endure.

I rate it 9/10.

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Genre: Action/ Drama/ Triad
Director: Johnny To
Cast: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung, Eddie Cheung, Lam, Lam Ka, Wong Tin Lam
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), September 2006