Police inspector and excellent hostage negotiator Ho Sheung-Sang finds himself in over his head when he is pulled into a 72 hour game by a cancer suffering criminal out for vengeance on Hong Kong's organized crime Syndicates.
When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a ... See full summary »
A French chef swears revenge after a violent attack on his daughter's family in Hong Kong, during which her husband and her two children are murdered. To help him find the killers, he hires three local hit-men working for the mafia.
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
The essential appeal of gangster films lies in the notion of the inter-linking of depravity and honour. And honour is arguably the more fictitious of the two qualities: it is said that after 'The Godfather' was made, real life mafioso started imitating Don Corleone. Even so, mafia chic has more or less been done to death, which is where (to a western audience) a Hong Kong gangster movie, like Johnny To's 'Election'; can be refreshing. Some of the guff about ancient codes may be hokum, but it's a fresh kind of hokum, and this is a tough, well made thriller, the story of the rivalry of two gangster leaders, the wild Big D. and his more thoughtful rival Lok, who (in 'Godfather'-terms) is more of a Michael Corleone figure. One thing I liked was how To makes effective use of quiet but driving background music during the more obviously thrilling parts of the movie, but lets its grim conclusion play out in silence. But overall, it's not in the same league as 'The Godfather', and the principal flaw is that there's no character sufficiently conflicted to win your sympathy. Lok may be an appealing family man in contrast to Big D., but although shocking, the ending lacks the surprise of the ending of 'The Godfather'; indeed, I personally think the 'The Godfather Part II', though a very skillful film, also suffered from the problem that the audience is unable to maintain the necessary illusions about its protagonist prior to the end. 'The Godfather' also had a plot that was not just detailed, but made exact sense, whereas the story in 'Election' is more superficial. I still enjoyed watching it; but the real Hong Kong 'Godfather' is arguably 'Infernal Affairs'.
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