Election (Hak se wui) (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Election (Hak se wui) (2005)

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Movie Info

A crime family flirts with democracy, leading to a fierce gangland battle in this stylish crime drama from Hong Kong director Johnnie To. With over 50,000 members, the Wo Shing Society is one of the largest and most powerful Triads in Hong Kong, and when the leadership committee needs a new head man, they decide to put the matter to a vote of their underlings. The two candidates are Lok (Simon Yam), a cool leader who doesn't rattle easily, and Big D (Tony Leung Kar-Fai), who has a short temper and is prone to violence. After Uncle Weng (Wong Tin-lam), an elderly and well-regarded member of the Triad, gives Lok his endorsement, he wins by a landslide, which does not sit well with Big D's uncertain temper. A ceremonial walking stick which is given to the Wo Shing Society's elected leader has disappeared, and Big D will stop at nothing to make sure it stays out of Lok's hands; meanwhile, the Hong Kong police are determined to bring down the Triad, and Big D ends up behind bars. The Wo Shing Society falls into chaos as in-fighting threatens to tear the Triad apart before the walking stick can be returned and Lok can be inaugurated as their new chief. Election (aka Hak Sewui) was a major box office success in Asia, and the story continued the following year in Election 2 (aka Hak se wui yi wo wai kwai).

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Cast

Simon Yam
as Lam Lok
Louis Koo
as Jimmy Lee
Suet Lam
as Big Head
Wong Tin-lam
as 'Uncle' Teng Wai
Tam Ping-man
as Uncle Cocky
Maggie Shiu
as Mrs. Big D
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Critic Reviews for Election (Hak se wui)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (14)

The film's violence erupts in rare, staccato bursts, all the more horrifying for coming out of nowhere.

August 24, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Election feels routine at times, though less formulaic than other genre exercises from Hong Kong. The depiction of crime customs is sociologically detailed.

July 13, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

[Director To's] talent for documentary-style realism and navigating complex political systems sets him apart, though his nationalism puts him squarely in the mainstream.

July 12, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Dense, demanding concentration, lacking any romantic (but plenty of sordid) violence, extremely involving and rewarding of careful attention.

June 21, 2007 | Full Review…

Ultimately, Election and Triad Election -- which benefit from being seen back to back -- play like a mature reevaluation of [Johnnie] To's long-standing talent for splashy, eye-popping violence.

June 8, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Reveals [director] To as a master of lean, close-quarters action.

June 7, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Election (Hak se wui)

The time has come for a Triad organisation to elect a new chairman, but the losing contender rejects the outcome and threatens to break away and form a new gang. Johnnie To's Election has been described as "the Asian Godfather", but I personally felt it had more of a Goodfellas vibe about it, particularly the grimly realistic violence that is made all the more so by the fact that the weapon of choice of these gangsters is the machete. The crux of the story revolves around a race for a ceremonial sceptre that is the traditional symbol of power for the organisation, but this format made the film feel like a 90 minute relay race as one character hands the "baton" to the next after occupying the screen for an all too brief length of time; in all there are nine characters vying for your attention (not even including the "bad" guys) which means few have any real chance to make any impact. Just when you think the set up is complete and the story is about to begin, the credits start rolling. In this way the film reminded me of the original X-Men film as it suffers from the same problem of introducing too many characters too quickly leaving little time for plot or characterisation of any depth. Having said that, it looks fantastic without losing any of its inherent grittiness and it's a solid foundation for the superior sequel Triad Election.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

a really interesting look inside the hong kong triads

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Totally and unbelievably excellent!!

This is really the only movie that could stand up to THE GODFATHER as a true gangster movie. Its outright brilliant. Perfectly executed. Vicious. And for all hardcore thrill fans and those that loved the Godfather, you will be hooked!!

Election takes us into the world of the Triads. Every two years, a new chairman is voted to head the Wo Sing Triad. But this time, there are two contenders: the violent, energetic and dangerous Big D, (Tony Leung) who is admired for his tenacity and ability to earn money, but his short temper and inability for paitence leaves him undesired by the more level headed "Uncles" of the groups. His opposite is the calm, intelligent and equally dangerous Lok (Simon Yam), a patient, cunning gang leader who shows and equally earns respect from his peers. When Lok and Big D clash, the Wo Shing Triad is about to explode with infighting, unless Lok can negotiate a truce between the rival groups, and also handle the police and other competitors at the same time.

This is brilliantly shot - perfect. The direction = fabulous. Johnnie To should be helmed directing top drawer Hollywood or Indie films, but the censors and tight ass producers will probably restrict his talents and skills, so he's better off in Hong Kong. The music -perfect match. Just like the Godfather had its theme, the score for Election is unique and well composed, the strings played beautifully, giving a melancholic sound in a smooth beat, which is flawless and suits the movie like the proverbial glove. The cast - well, too bad they arent the superb cast from The GODFATHER. But they are second to none. Most people are familiar with Jackie and Jet and Bruce. The cast is really the top gun veterans in Hong Kong outside of the previous 3, Simon Yam and Louis Koo being my personal favourites, usually underrated and left in the background when being cast in other movies with the international stars. Tony Leung should be no stranger to international films, his most recent popular movie to the general public being Hero, with Jet Li.

The rest of the characters are well developed and played out so well, its like really feeling that these guys are he real deal, the same feeling you got when you "connected" with the Corleone Family.


This is a must see for HK fans and Gangster movie lovers! Or anyone who respects top quality films.

And it can prove it too, being a selection at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Toronto, New York, Melbourne, Stockholm and many other Film festivals, broke the box office in Hong Kong, which was surprising for an R18+ movie in HK.

Also, Winner of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay in the Hong Kong Film Awards....

watch it yourself, it kicks ass! Literally.

Khris N
Khris N

Super Reviewer

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