Election 2

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Election 2
Election2HK.jpg
Original Hong Kong theatrical poster
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 黑社會:以和爲貴
Simplified Chinese 黑社会:以和为贵
Directed by Johnnie To
Written by Yau Nai-Hoi
Yip Tin-Shing
Produced by Dennis Law
Johnnie To
Starring Louis Koo
Simon Yam
Nick Cheung
Cheung Siu-fai
Lam Suet
Gordon Lam
Cinematography Cheng Siu-Keung
Edited by Law Wing-Cheong
Jeff Cheung
Music byRobert Ellis-Geiger
Production
companies
Distributed by China Star Entertainment Group
Release date
  • 27 April 2006 (2006-04-27)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryHong Kong
LanguagesCantonese
Mandarin
Box officeUS$1.8 million [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 including 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 triad boss Lok, who struggles to get re-elected as his two-year term approaches its end. He faces competition from Jimmy, who wants to retire from the triad to be a legitimate businessman, but gets drawn into the conflict surrounding the election.

Contents

Election 2 enjoyed box office success in Hong Kong and being shown as an "Official Selection" at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Afterwards, it became a popular hit on the international festival circuit.

Stephen Teo, author of Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (2007), wrote that "Election 2 is the most directly political film made in Hong Kong in the post-97 era." [2]

Plot

Lok, who was elected chairman of the Hong Kong triad Wo Lin Shing at the end of the first film, contemplates breaking tradition by seeking to be re-elected for a second term once his two-year term expires. He faces challenge from his protégés Jimmy, Kun and Jet.

Jimmy has been trying to distance himself from the triad's criminal activities and focus on legitimate businesses in Hong Kong and Mainland China. During a trip to Guangzhou, Jimmy gets arrested by the Mainland Chinese police and meets Assistant Police Chief Shi, who makes a deal with him: If Jimmy wants to continue doing business in Mainland China, he must become Wo Lin Shing's next chairman and help the police maintain peace and order among the triads. Jimmy reluctantly accepts the offer and becomes one of the candidates in the upcoming election.

Lok negotiates with Kun and convinces Kun to team up with him for the election, claiming that the triad elders will support them. Kun then kidnaps Jimmy's business partner Mr Kwok and hides him in a coffin together with Big-Head. Lok also sends Jet to assassinate Jimmy but Jet fails. Jimmy lets Jet go but warns him that Lok will get rid of him too eventually. Meanwhile, Lok takes the Dragonhead Baton, the symbol of the chairman's authority, and hides it in Guangzhou. He also murders triad elder Uncle Teng when the latter criticises him for breaking tradition and becoming too greedy for power.

In the face of an escalating conflict, Jimmy and his supporters kidnap Lok's lieutenants and intimidate or bribe them into siding with him. Jimmy also exposes Kun for kidnapping Mr Kwok and Big-Head, causing Kun to go on the run from the police. He then orders Lok's lieutenants to murder Lok when Lok is exhausted after chasing his estranged teenage son. With his opponents eliminated, Jimmy wins the election and becomes Wo Lin Shing's chairman.

When Jimmy visits Guangzhou again, Assistant Police Chief Shi congratulates him on his victory and passes him the Dragonhead Baton, which the police have seized. He also tells Jimmy that he hopes that Jimmy will serve as Wo Lin Shing's chairman indefinitely so that the triad becomes a "family enterprise". Jimmy, who had initially hoped to go "clean" once his two-year term expires so that his family will not be affected by his association with the triad, is furious and horrified to hear that. When he learns that his wife is now pregnant, he contemplates how his family is going to be stuck in a life they do not want to be in.

Cast

Release

The film did not get a Mainland Chinese release, unlike the first film. [3]

Reception

US poster of Election 2. TRIAD.jpg
US poster of Election 2.

Festivals

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, [4] 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

Worldwide distribution

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. [5] 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. [6]

Critical reception

Election 2 received generally positive reviews, with a 96% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. [7] In addition, it was ranked one of the top films of 2007 on Metacritic with a score of 83 out of 100. [8] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that the movie is an "exemplary gangster thriller." [9]

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References

  1. "Box office by Country: Triad Election Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 June 2012
  2. "Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film". Hong Kong University Press. 1 June 2007. p.  182. ISBN   9789622098398.
  3. He, Hilary Hongjin (2010). ""One Movie, Two Versions": Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema in Mainland China" (PDF). Global Media Journal Australian Edition. University of Western Sydney. 4 (2): 8/16. ISSN   1835-2340.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: Election 2". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  5. "Domestic 2007 Weekend 17".
  6. "Thank Goodness for Organized Crime".
  7. Election 2 profile at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. Metacritic.com, retrieved January 25, 2007
  9. Dargis, Manohla. Election 2 review, The New York Times, 25 April 2007.