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Hong Kong 2005
produced by
Dennis Law, Johnnie To for Milkyway Image, One Hundred Years of Film, China Star
directed by Johnnie To
starring Simon Yam, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Louis Koo, Nick Cheung, Cheung Siu Fai, Lam Suet, Lam Ka Tung, Wang Tian-lin, Maggie Siu, Bo Yuen, Che Biu Law, David Chiang, Robert Hung, Kwok Fung, Lam Man-wai, Ng Ting Yip, Chan Siu-Pang, Tam Ping-Man, Wang Chung, Wong Ho-Yin, You Yong, Yuen Bun
written by Yau Nai-Hoi, Yip Tin-Shing, music by Lo Tayu

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It's election time when a big triad organisation plans to vote for its chairman (as is tradition within this family), and the two candidates are Big D (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and Lok (Simon Yam). Both men are ambitious enough to get elected that they outbribe each other ... and in the end the majority of the members of the organisation votes for Lok.

Big D however is a sore loser, and he thinks of ways to become chairman after all ... and stumbles upon an old (and meaningless) tradition that the chairman has to cary the Dragon Head Baton for his inauguration. So he contacts the present chairman, Whistler (Wang Chung) and forces him to tell him where the Baton is - somewhere in mainland China. So he sends his men to fetch the Baton ... but Lok has anticipated this and does the same, and before long, in an elongated fight and chase, many people on both sides die for the stupid Baton. Finally though, Lok gats his hands on it after all and is inaugurated..

Suddenly, Big D is all sweet to him and makes up with him, he even helps him to (brutally) kill Dino (Bo Yuen), a dangerous competitor, and finally we see Lok and his son and Big D and his wife (Maggie Siu) together on a fishing trip. In a quiet moment though, Big D shows his true intentions when he suggests to Lok to install a second chairman - Big D of course -, if only for the good of the organisation. Lok picks up a big stone and beats Big D to death with it. Then he goes after Big D's wife and beats her to death with a shovel. After having buried them both he drives off with his son as if nothing has ahppened - even thogh the boy has witnessed the whole thing ...


Despite its moments of pure genius, this is one of Johnny To's lesser films. Though Election, like most of To's better films, contains its fair share of subversive ideas and hilarious scenes, as a whole it just fails to fall together: Main problem is, the plot somehow lacks a proper direction, the campaigning at the beginning of the film, the action-laden chase at the center and the conclusion of the film (including the murder of Big D) seem to tell three different stories, with none of them being allowed to develop to their full potential - and actually none of these stories gets a proper ending.

That said though, the film might still be worth your while, it's flawlessly directed, it's subversive enough aad at times it's quite clever too. Thing is, Johnny To can do (and did do) better ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD