It's all in good fun!

Election 2 (2006)

Director: Johnnie To
Starring: Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Wong Tin-Lam, You Yong, Lam Suet, Eddie Cheng Siu-Fai, Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Andy On Chi-Kit, Tam Ping-Man

Tagline: "This shit is going to give me nightmares!" - not just you buddy!

Having made it big with pirate VCDs in China Jimmy (Louis Koo) wants to go straight and is planning a big property investment deal to set him up. Back in Hong Kong Kok (Simon Yam) is enjoying his term as term as Chairman of the Wo Sing triad and is already scheming to get another term.

Why do people still go fishing with Lok? Kun (Gordon Lam) is stupid enough to, but is lucky this time as the bank of the river is not as deserted as the reservoir where the infamous fishing trip took place last time.

Big Head (Lam Suet) is still in the triad and provides much needed comic relief at times, such as time scene with him wearing the clown mask. Jet (Nick Cheung) is in hiding and is promised the leadership by Lok if he performs "one more hit" for him.

Jimmy wants to go straight and argues with Uncle Teng (Wong Tin-Lam) who wants him to run for the chairman's position. When he gets busted in an operation in China by Inspector Xi (You Yong), he has no choice in the matter and quickly gets the uncles on his side.

Lok is having none of that and quickly escalates the conflict by kidnapping Jimmy's main investor. Things start to spiral out of control with killings and counter attacks culminating in a horrible scene in a kennel involving Lok's men accepting literal blood money to perform the hit on their boss. As well as being difficult to watch, that scene hurt my ears with the blows to the body with the sledgehammer.

There are no real winners in the triad game and no-one is the good guy so the ending is not surprising. It was a bit disappointing to have the movie end like it does. It is a sharp a political comment about China's dominance over Hong Kong as they can even tell the triads what to do.

I don't think there could be a sequel to this movie unless it is a prequel as is dictated in triad movie lore. What I liked about this movie is that it did not glamorise the triad life as many other films do or have over the top fight scenes and shootouts with the police. The violence here is not glamorised at all and is very sudden and bloody.

It is a very dark film both in tone and physically so moments of light relief, like the scene with the party masks were very welcome, as was Wong Tin-Lam and his little pug dog.

This is not really a movie I would recommend to a casual viewer of Hong Kong cinema or fan of triad action films. It is very complicated and disturbing and not something to be taken lightly.

Rating: 7/10

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