As much as I've disparaged Louis Koo's acting in the past, no one can take "Election 2" away from him. With this film, Koo found the role he was perfectly suited for: the well-dressed Triad playboy turned legitimate businessman, consistently in over his head in the dog-eat-dog worlds of organized crime and capitalism (and the movie will make you wonder which one is worse). Johnnie To delivers a Triad masterpiece.
Yes, the climax does not match the first, but I think I might slightly prefer this one overall. The connection to The Godfather is obvious, particularly between Jimmy and Michael Corleone. The depths that Jimmy is willing to go in order to attain his goal becomes unnerving. By the end of it, you will be asking yourself - who is the true, "gangster"?
Corrects the problems of the first by zeroing in on few characters, and thus, making them better defined, raising the stakes. It's now only about the usual aspects of gangster films: warring factions, honor, treachery, and betrayal. Thus, it's not as inventive, nor is it consistently intense, yet the brutal if appropriate violence, and all the backstabbing still bleeding from the original, is also quite mesmerizing.
One of the rare sequels that surpass the original in almost every way. This is Chinese mafia movie at its best. The story is more complex, the directing has more style and the acting is better overall. It's also a lot darker and depressing. You never at any point envy the gangster lifestyle while watching this movie... The ending leaves a lot of loose ends too and we'll probably get a third film in the future.
One of the rare sequels capable of surpassing the original. What's also interesting is how different in style this one is. Yes they're both thrillers but the first one is more action-oriented while this one is a gutting psychological drama. Truly edge-of-your-seat type stuff.