by HELEN GEIB
This week’s DVD of the week selection gives me the unexpected pleasure of promoting a Hong Kong film two weeks in a row. Last week I recommended the Shaw Brothers’ classic kung fu film King Boxer. Today my recommendation is a film in another of the great Hong Kong cinema genres, the organized crime drama. Triad Election (released in Hong Kong as Election 2) is the masterful second and concluding film in Johnnie To’s Election series.
Triad Election is the best kind of popular filmmaking. It offers all of the considerable pleasures expected of a top quality studio-made film – an engrossing story, compelling character drama, powerhouse star performances supported by experienced character actors, strong direction and high production values – informed by a brave engagement with the political and social realities of contemporary Hong Kong. To is a filmmaker of consistent excellence and the Election films, and especially Triad Election, are among his best work. If you’ve never tried Hong Kong cinema, this is a good place to start.
The DVD is a barebones release, but when it comes to Hong Kong films, I’m just happy to see them released to the American market.
Other new releases this week: Away From Her, DOA: Dead or Alive