A pivotal film in Johnnie To's oeuvre. The Election duology is often seen as one of the high points of Hong Kong cinema, and this first part was instrumental in cementing To's name in post-Handover Hong Kong cinema. I'm not the biggest fan, my clear preference is with the second part, but To's talent for crime cinema is undeniable.
Hong Kong's oldest and most influential Triad is about to change leadership. This is always a volatile time, but things get worse when the traditional scepter has gone missing. The scepter has to be found as quickly as possible, before others get wind of the disappearance, which may jeopardize the future of the syndicate.
The cast is superb, it's nice to get a somewhat more serious and down-to-earth rendition of the Triad genre, and some of To's trademark skills are already in full effect. The first half was a bit too slow and dry for my liking though, and compared to the second film, it's just a bit too basic. Still, if you care about Hong Kong crime cinema, this is essential viewing.