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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)

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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: Multiple Formats, 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: #121,175 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 16 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 3 people found the following review helpful
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. Some of these are dealt with in the truly excellent and far superior sequel, Election 2: Harmony is a Virtue, but it's still a dependably enthralling thriller about a contested Triad election that bypasses the usual shootouts and explosions (though not the violence) in favor of constantly shifting alliances that can turn in the time it takes to make a phone call. It's also a film where the most ruthless character isn't always the most threatening one, as the chilling ending makes only too clear: one can imagine a lifetime of psychological counselling being necessary for all the trauma that one inflicts on one unfortunate bystander.

Extras on the 2-disc set aren't over-plentiful, but the interviews with Johnnie To, Simon Yam (always at his best under To's direction, and possibly never better here), Wang Tianlin and Tony Leung Ka Fei are more in-depth and thoughtful than usual. Also included are a brief featurette (like the interviews subtitled in English), stills galleries, 2 unsubtitled TV spots, 2 unsubtitled theatrical trailers, and booklet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 this genre, underlying the testosterone,
discipline and ancient traditions aspects of masculinity.

Either the script's writer had a bad nightmare on which this movie
was constructed, or the writer simply decided to show a very limited,
narrow range of what comprises humanity, and understanding the latter
either poorly, or not heving been exposed to very much of it, in

The aforementioned aspects seems to eat away at the classy aspects
that a picture craves, this film suffering also from the homicidal
behavior that the movie shows at the 90 min mark.

The strong point of this picture, is a story centering on the
election of a triad successor, which the audience will recognize as
similar to modern politics. Any strategy is good, to get to the top
...payoffs to electors preparing to cast their votes to win their
favor, maneuvering, violence, kidnappings, brutality, financial
enticements all the while, with a law enforcement presence that
delays, complicates and hinders the entire underground electoral

Key street-level bosses are called in a meeting, to vote for one
candidate or another, raising their hand to signal their approval.
Interestingly, the defeated candidates don't abandon victory so soon
or easily, fully conscious that it's fully possible to gain the upper
hand and coerce opponents with some effort and skill, from their
genetic make-ups as triad leaders having climbed to the top, to the
point of being candidates for the top dog position.
Read more ›
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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
... Read more ›
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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 19 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 21 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 on October 17, 2012 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brutal Battle For Political Supremacy: The First Installment Of A...
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... Read more
Published on January 12, 2011 by K. Harris
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
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