Election 2

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Election 2
Election2HK.jpg
Original Hong Kong theatrical poster
Traditional 黑社會:以和爲貴
Simplified 黑社会:以和为贵
Mandarin Hēi Shè Huì Yǐ Hé Wéi Guì
Cantonese Hak1 Se5 Wui2 Ji5 Wo4 Wai4 Gwai3
Directed by Johnnie To
Produced by Dennis Law
Johnnie To
Written by Yau Nai-Hoi
Yip Tin-Shing
Starring Louis Koo
Simon Yam
Nick Cheung
Cheung Siu-fai
Lam Suet
Gordon Lam
Music by Robert Ellis-Geiger
Cinematography Cheng Siu-Keung
Edited by Law Wing-Cheong
Jeff Cheung
Production
  company
Milkyway Image
One Hundred Years of Film
Distributed by China Star Entertainment Group
Release date(s)
  • 27 April 2006 (2006-04-27)
Running time 92 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Mandarin
Box office $1,833,853[1]

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.

Plot[edit]

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.

Cast[edit]

  • 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

Reception[edit]

US poster of Election 2.

Festivals[edit]

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,[2] where the movie was very well received by international critics. Afterward, Election 2 became a popular hit on the international film festival circuit.

Hong Kong distribution[edit]

  • 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).

Worldwide distribution[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Election 2 received generally positive reviews, with a 96% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] In addition, it was ranked one of the top films of 2007 on Metacritic with a score of 83 out of 100.[6] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that the movie is an "exemplary gangster thriller."[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]