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Election (2005)

Louis Koo , Suet Lam , Johnnie To  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.98
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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $59.99  
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Frequently Bought Together

Election + Triad Election + Exiled
Price for all three: $31.06

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  • Triad Election $5.75
  • Exiled $9.53

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Product Details

  • Actors: Louis Koo, Suet Lam, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Siu-Fai Cheung, Simon Yam
  • Directors: Johnnie To
  • Writers: Nai-Hoi Yau, Tin-Shing Yip
  • Producers: Johnnie To, Catherine Chan, Dennis Law, Elos Gallo, Kok Leung Kuk
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Election" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Every two years the senior members of the Wo Shing Triad, the oldest gang in Hong Kong, elect an up-and-coming younger boss as their chairman. The two candidates they are voting on couldn’t be farther apart in personality; Lok (Simon Yam) is a levelheaded businessman and Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) is a loud, obnoxious, violent criminal. When the voting does not go how some people would have liked, lines are divided and a gang war begins to form.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Election is the first film in this gangster series (Triad Election is the sequel) from the greatest filmmaker currently working in Hong Kong, Johnnie To. If you aren't familiar with Mr. To's work, imagine John Woo with less action (at least in this film - watch Exiled, another top notch film, for more action oriented To fare) but a much better handle on story and storytelling than Woo ever had. This is less action/thrills oriented than Infernal Affairs (which it is sometimes compared to), but I think Election is a much better film.

The simple synopsis - two mob bosses, one all business and one all bluster, compete for leadership of their gang. When the election doesn't go the way some want, all hell breaks loose, threatening the stability of the already teetering Hong Kong underworld.

Tony Leung Ka Fai won the acting award for his Nicholson-esqe over-the-top performance as the loud mouth, obnoxious mob boss, but it is Simon Yam that really shines in his role - the transformation of his character over the course of this film is a 2-hour acting lesson that totally blew me away.

The U.S. DVD has all the special features that were on the Hong Kong 2-Disc Special Edition, but at a nicer price, and the transfer is excellent. I can't recommend this film enough, and the Tartan DVD is the way to go.

Attention Canadians - the Canadian release (not from Tartan) is bare-bones, this is the one to get if you are interested in special features!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Amazon Verified Purchase
Having recently become acquainted with Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To with the his latest effort "Vengeance" (an unusual and intriguing genre picture), I've been seeking out his earlier pieces. After being delighted by the thoroughly unique "Mad Detective," I stumbled across a pair of movies that, to me, epitomize grand and sophisticated storytelling. I consider myself, at least, conversant in Asian cinema and its masters--but To seems to have flown completely under my radar. But no more! With 2005's "Election" and its sequel 2006's "Triad Election," To has captivated me with two terrifically complex thrillers that stand in worthy comparison to "The Godfather" and "The Godfather, Part 2." Okay, I know that comparing the "Election" films to two cinema masterpieces may seem like unnecessary hyperbole--but, in truth, I was so impressed that I have share that passion. And the character arcs are quite similar. Much as I consider the two "Godfather" films as one experience (I'll leave Part 3 out of the discussion), I have to lump "Election" and "Triad Election" together for the purposes of this review. Either film can be appreciated on its own merits--but together, they are a truly special experience (I literally watched them back to back).

"Election" revolves around the passing of the power baton within one of Hong Kong's largest crime syndicates. With two principle candidates in the running for the looming election, there seems a clear division about the future of the Triad. There's the old-school man of action, Big D (Tony Leung Ka Fei), and the more contemplative choice, Lam Lok (Simon Yam). Each has his supporters and each has a different vision for the future of the organization.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Wo Shing triad is the oldest and most powerful gang in Hong Kong; they are also unique in their time-honored tradition of holding democratic elections among the various leaders for the big boss or chairman of the triad.This time around, succession will not happen without a fight. The two leading candidates have very different approaches to leadership, and neither can effectively lead while the other retains his strength. While "Big D" craves power for its own sake, "Lok" is a shrewd businessman and devoted father who sees crime as a means to an end and values stability, peace and tradition. When it comes time for a new leader, and "Big D" refuses to accept defeat, it looks like civil war within the triad is imminent.

Hong Kong director Johnnie To can do violence. While I tend to prefer the stylistic flourishes of another major Hong Kong director, Wong Kar-Wai, there's no denying that Johnnie To's approach has a broader appeal, but doesn't dumb things down in the Hollywood blockbuster style. What is remarkable in this film is the restraint and the emphasis on the difficult choices that a leader, even a criminal leader, must make. There is no gun play, which is not to say that there is no brutal violence, but much of the action involves conversation. In the world depicted here it's not brutality but intelligence that prevail - though part of what the film shows is that a leader in this world has to be prepared to get his hands dirty. Since it is about the succession of power and the meaning of honor among organized criminals, "Election" deserves to be compared to Coppola's
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How far are they willing to go? May 4, 2007
"Election" directed by Johnnie To, is an engaging action thriller that manages to entertain the spectator, but that might scare some people due to numerous scenes of violence.

The two main characters are Lok (Simon Yam) and Big D (Tony Leung), the two main candidates to become the new chairman of one of Hong Kong's most importants triads, the Wo Shing Society. The senior members of the The Wo Shing Society have the power to choose the next president, and will do so in a triad-run election. But how far is each of these candidates willing to go in order to have absolute power? And where do tradition, loyalty and duty stand in modern times?

These questions, and some more, will be answered if you give "Election" a chance. This is the first movie I watch by this Hong Kong director, and I liked it well enough to know I will try to find out more about his work. From my point of view, this film is not perfect (3.5 stars out of 5), but it original, and well-worth seeing, if you can stand the sometimes shocking violence. If that is the case, recommended...

Belen Alcat
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good storyline with good cast
If your looking for an "action" film with lots of knives, guns and blood, this is not it. Killings are kept to the minimum necessary to move the plot along. Read more
Published 13 months ago by B Icenbice
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
DVD is just as described and arrived very quickly. Seems to be new with no damage or wear. Good job.
Published 14 months ago by James H. Kwon
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense, complex, fascinating plot
Just watched this for the first time last night and feel compelled to write a quick review countering one of the more negative reviews on Amazon:
1) a LOT of things happen in... Read more
Published 18 months ago by BjorkFanosaurus Rex
1.0 out of 5 stars Johnnie To's worst
I am a fan of Johnnie To but this is my least favorite film of his I have seen so far. Nothing happens and this is about as boring as a movie could be. Read more
Published on August 14, 2011 by Travis
4.0 out of 5 stars I Eat Porcelain Spoon's for Breakfast!
Man...this one gave me goose bumps. The story alone was enough to rattle my cage. But the most haunting element of this crime drama is the mood. Read more
Published on April 6, 2009 by Ghost in the Matrix
3.0 out of 5 stars A good crime drama well worth watching if only to set up the superb...
Despite a tight narrative, Johnnie To's Election feels at times like it was once a longer picture, with many characters and plot strands abandoned or ultimately unresolved. Read more
Published on January 18, 2009 by Trevor Willsmer
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate 1-upmanship. . .
If you can find the two-disc special edition from HK, that is your best bet.

Let me start out by saying that I really didn't know what to expect going in to this one. Read more
Published on August 5, 2008 by Garvinstomp
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama, Well-Timed Action
I find these movies (this one and even more so the sequal) to be worth several times through. The thing is that the drama creates just the right tension, and then that is is... Read more
Published on May 24, 2008 by R9
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a crime drama.
If you're looking for action here, you'll be disappointed. There are some killing scenes but they do not contain big explosions or kung fu fighting. Read more
Published on January 1, 2008 by Cestmoi
3.0 out of 5 stars Behaviors occurring behind the scenes in the modern world
ELECTION (Hak Se Wui, 1995) starring Simon Yam (reprising his role as
a triad godfather as seen in CASINO 1997 by Billy Tang, for ex§) is a
movie intended for fans of... Read more
Published on October 8, 2007 by Pork Chop
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