Triad Election

"Excellent"

Triad Election Review


As with any decent gangster flick, Johnny To's Triad Election can't give up the ghost of The Godfather. In following the exploits of an up-and-coming boss, more coolly strategic than his predecessors, To has arguably achieved a newfound maturity that has only been hinted at in his hit-and-miss career thus far.

Jimmy Lee (a startling Louis Koo) has just made a business deal with the Mainland China government and is looking to go straight with his model girlfriend, buying a nice house in the swaying greens of the Chinese hills. Taking his name out of Triad contention, he leaves head boss Lok (the staggering Simon Yam) to consider the five main heads under him, none of which seem fit for a crown. Instead of deliberating the least damaging choice, Lok plays the minions against one another in hopes of getting the Triad to elect him again, an act that would break Triad law.

At the same time, Jimmy, finishing his deal with the government, is stripped of his business license in a surprise sting operation headed by Xi (Yao Yung). Jimmy is distraught, but Xi offers him a deal of Shakespearean weight: He will get his license back if he can be elected as the head of the Triad. Suddenly, Jimmy is going to the mattresses with Lok, bidding for backing from the rest of the Triad.

The now-prolific director uses many of his regular players to flesh out the cast, a quality that gives his oeuvre a specific consistency. Here, To gets to play with some of the same notions as Andy Lau's fantastic Infernal Affairs trilogy, but in a more clipped fashion than that behemoth. The link that exists between the original Election and Triad Election has a tenuous consistency compared to other Chinese gangster epics, but on its own, Triad exists as a microcosm of the way things are: It's just business, and business is bloody.

In his upcoming Exiled, To plays around with spaghetti western archetypes and infuses them with kitchen-sink ethos, but in this film, there's an apt sense of restraint in both his tone and his scope. The serious scenes of violence are scant, but their brutality is unquestionable and realized with deft precision. Jimmy's transition has a ruthless bite to it; watching him take a sledgehammer to a man's back with seething bloodlust isn't expected, but it seems like the obvious extension of his all-business demeanor. Jimmy Lee (a very Western name) may simply not care about what his business entails, just as long as he's in charge of it, and that's what the Triad offers him: utter control.

The storytelling specifically speaks to To's maturity and his ability as an action director. In his past films, namely Election and Breaking News, he has hinted at his deeper talents but has not exercised them with this sort of efficiency. When a major character is beaten to death with three hammers slamming into his head, To cuts not to the pain the character is being put through but rather the domestic pain he is leaving in his wake. Like many other directors, To has expertly captured the battle between old-school gangster pathology and the new cutthroat tactics of the corporate criminal. The only difference is that in To's world, there are no heroes to embrace; everyone is guilty.

Aka Hak se wui yi wo wai kwai.



Triad Election

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th April 2006

Distributed by: Tartan USA

Production compaines: China Star Entertainment, Milky Way Image Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Dennis Law

Starring: Louis Koo as Jimmy Lee, as Lam Lok, Nick Cheung as Jet, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung as Kun / Lam Ka Tung, Lam Suet as Big Head, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai as Mr. So, Tian-lin Wang as Uncle Teng Wai, Tam Bing-Man as Uncle Cocky, Mark Cheng as Bo, as Lik, You Yong as Black Ren / Chinese Security Bureau Chief

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.