Original Hong Kong theatrical poster
|Mandarin||Hēi Shè Huì Yǐ Hé Wéi Guì|
|Cantonese||Hak1 Se5 Wui2 Ji5 Wo4 Wai4 Gwai3|
|Directed by||Johnnie To|
|Produced by||Dennis Law
|Written by||Yau Nai-Hoi
|Music by||Robert Ellis-Geiger|
|Edited by||Law Wing-Cheong
|Distributed by||China Star Entertainment Group|
Election 2 (literal title: Black Society: Harmony is a Virtue), also known as Triad Election in the United States, is a 2006 Category III Hong Kong crime film directed by Johnnie To with a large ensemble cast that includes Louis Koo, Simon Yam and Nick Cheung. A sequel to the 2005 film Election, the film concludes the events of the first film centring on Lok (Yam), who this time struggles to keep his title as triad boss as a triad re-election draws near, while Jimmy (Koo) attempts to retire as a triad to become a legitimate businessman.
This film enjoyed box office success in Hong Kong and being shown as an "Official Selection" at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival; afterwards, this film became a popular hit on the international film festival circuit.
Lok is now holding his position as triad chairman of the Wo Shing society unthreatened in Hong Kong. As his two-year term expires, a new chairman election nears, but Lok contemplates breaking tradition, attempting to seek re-election. At the same time, Jimmy is trying to escape Wo Shing by building a legitimate business empire in mainland China. When he is arrested in an illegal financial trade with a government official for the building of a new logisitics center and highway, the section chief of the Public Security Bureau forbids him to re-enter the mainland to do business, unless he becomes Wo Shing's next chairman. Reluctant, but forced to accept the reality he can never truly exit the triad, Jimmy enters into the election nomination, with Jet and Kun also seeking the chairman position.
Lok first negotiates with Kun, claiming Wo Shing's "Uncles" will support Kun, so long as they team up for a joint election bid. Kun then kidnaps and places Jimmy's financial supporter Mr Kwok in a coffin alive with Big Head, so as to eliminate the competition. Lok also asks Jet to asssassinate Jimmy, also claiming the "Uncles" will support Jet. Unfortunately, Jet does not complete the assassination, following Jimmy warning the youth Lok will most likely have him and Kun killed, once Jimmy is dead. Mr So, having been similarly arrested in the mainland for an illegal gambling ring, allies with Jimmy to see to his election as chairman. Meanwhile, Lok hides the Dragon Head Baton, the symbol of Wo Shing's leadership, in mainland China, hoping to reassert his power, then outright kills "Uncle" Teng Wai, after Teng blasts Lok for breaking Wo Shing tradition. Seeing the corruption and civil war escalating in the society, Jimmy kidnaps Lok's lieutenants and bribes them to work for him. After exposing Kun for kidnapping Mr. Kwok and Big Head, while ordering Lok's lieutenants to murder the chairman, Jimmy's nomination is successful, and he wins the election.
Back in mainland China, the section chief congratulates Jimmy for winning and hands the Dragon Head Baton Lok hid. However, the Security Bureau is tired of seeing the baton entering the mainland for years and having to re-deliver it back to Wo Shing. In the hopes this will not happen again, the section chief orders Jimmy to become Wo Shing's chairman permanently, establishing the society as a family enterprise. The furious Jimmy cannot believe these turn of events, hoping once his two-year term as chairman expires, he can finally go "clean". Upon visiting his wife, whom he sent into hiding during the election for her safety, she announces her pregnancy. Jimmy embraces her hiding both fear and horror at the prospect of his son being trapped in a life he wants no part of.
- Louis Koo as Jimmy Lee
- Simon Yam as Lam Lok
- Nick Cheung as Jet
- Cheung Siu-fai as Mr. So
- Lam Suet as Big Head
- Gordon Lam as Kun
- Wong Tin-lam as Uncle Teng Wai
- Tam Ping-man as Uncle Cocky
- Mark Cheng as Bo
- Andy On as Lik
- You Yong as Mr Xi
- Poon Yuet-tung as Janice
- Cheung Mo-hau as Mr Shu
- Yuen Bun as Incense Master
- Jonathan Lee as Denny
- Wong Sze-yan as Chak
- Chiu Chi-shing as Long Hair
- Law Keung as Brother Snake
- Alan Chui as Uncle Tank
- Yu Yuen-yin as Uncle Long Gun
- Tong Pau-chung as Uncle Chiu Chow
- Chan Siu-pang as Uncle Monk
- Cheung Chi-ping as Uncle Dead Dog
The film first appeared at the 2006 Hong Kong International Film Festival. Election 2 was also shown in "Out of Competition" (midnight screenings) section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, where the movie was very well received by international critics. Afterward, Election 2 became a popular hit on the international film festival circuit.
- Official Selection of 2006 Cannes Film Festival (Out-of-Competition midnight screening)
- Official Selection of Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, Festival de Cine de Sitges, Chicago International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, AFI Fest, Tokyo Filmex, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, Indianapolis International Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival.
Hong Kong distribution
- Election 2 opened in Hong Kong on 27 April 2006 and grossed about HK$13.57 million domestically; it was less than the first film's earnings of HK$15.89 million, but HK$13.57 million was still quite high for a movie which received a Category III rating (18+ restriction) in Hong Kong.
- The film was named best film of 2006 in the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.
- In 2007, the film was nominated for the following Hong Kong Film Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Simon Yam) and Best Supporting Actor (Nick Cheung).
Election 2 was sold to more than 21 territories, including Tartan Films for the United States, Optimum Releasing for the United Kingdom, ARP Selection for France, A-Film Distribution for Netherlands, Ripley's Film for Italy, Avalon Productions for Spain, NonStop Entertainment for Scandinavia, Maywin Media for Russia, Fine Films for Japan, Hopscotch Films for Australia, California Filmes in Brazil and 791cine for Argentina.
In May 2006, Tartan Films acquired all United States distribution rights of Election 2. Tartan Films released this movie in the US theatrically under the new title Triad Election on 25 April 2007. Despite receiving very little promotion, in the United States, the film still had the highest per-screen average box office on the weekend it opened.
Election 2 received generally positive reviews, with a 96% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, it was ranked one of the top films of 2007 on Metacritic with a score of 83 out of 100. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that the movie is an "exemplary gangster thriller."
- "Box office by Country: Triad Election Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 June 2012
- "Festival de Cannes: Election 2". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
- Election 2 profile at Rotten Tomatoes
- Metacritic.com, retrieved January 25, 2007
- Dargis, Manohla. Election 2 review, The New York Times, 25 April 2007.
- Official website (US)
- IONCINEMA.com interviews Johnnie To
- Election 2 at LoveHKFilm.com
- Official MySpace page (US)
- US movie trailer (QuickTime)
- Hong Kong movie trailer (QuickTime)
- Review at Kaiju Shakedown, which is Variety's Asian cinema blog
- Review at HKCuk.co.uk
- Review at Variety
- Review at The Hollywood Reporter
- Election 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Election 2 at AllMovie
- Election 2 at Rotten Tomatoes