Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kung Fu Killers - Grant Page (1974) - Hong Kong International Airport, Kai Tak

A few posts ago we were taking a quick look at Wang Yu in The Man From Hong Kong. It was a brief look because only a small portion of it featured locations in Hong Kong and those scenes were largely dominated by the rather excellent hand gliding sequence undertaken by Australia's premier stuntman, Grant Page.

Luckily for us, Page was featured in this documentary on the 70's kung fu film boom - Kung Fu Killers - that looks as though it was probably (though I can't be certain) shot when Brian Trenchard-Smith (director of both films) and Page were in town to film the aerial scenes from the Wang Yu film.

Anyway, the doc is worth including because there are some interesting sites and views included starting off with this brief but iconic view of a Singapore Airlines plane coming in to land at the airport.

4 comments:

  1. Hands-down my favorite view of Kai Tak, this was most likely shot from or near the famous checkerboard hill. The plane is a Boeing 707-300 series, but I'm not sure which individual plane or model it is. (SQ had a total of ten of these over the years, retiring the last in mid-1982.)

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    1. it's certainly a view I am familiar with after watching a bunch of "Kai Tak Landings" videos on Youtube, but I think may be the first time we've seen it on this blog. Most filmmakers have gone for the side angle when filming here.

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    2. I missed it the first time I saw this post, but this film also caught the runway extension nearing completion in the background. Wikipedia has an image of the earlier 8,350 foot runway design circa 1971 here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kai_Tak_Airport#/media/File:Hong_Kong_Kai_Tak_Airport_1971.jpg

      ...and as of June 1973 -- I was five months old at the time ;-) -- Flight International reckoned completion was set for a few months later:

      http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1973/1973%20-%201581.html

      Interestingly, there's a tie-in to your Man from Hong Kong (1975) post, because according to the Flight article, the Airport Tunnel project was happening concurrently. The full length of the newly-extended 11,130 foot runway wouldn't be available until the tunnel's completion.

      This image shows the final post-1974 runway configuration that saw Kai Tak through its last 24 years of operations:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kai_Tak_Airport#/media/File:Kaitak_tchn.svg

      Presumably, the planners spotted an opportunity to close an ~1,800 foot portion of the landward end of the runway once the additional 2,780 feet of runway had been added at the harbor end. I'm speculating here, but perhaps that allowed construction crews to dig up and then later reconstruct part of the runway surface to construct the new tunnel rather than boring beneath the existing concrete. And even if not, it would at least have allowed them to dig the tunnel without any weight on the crucial portion of the runway, reducing the risk of damaging it.

      I don't know why, but I'd never put two and two together about the runway extension and airport tunnel happening together...

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    3. interesting observation. I guess it makes sense that the tunnel wouldn't have been started after the runway extension. I must admit I don't think I have ever been through the kai Tak tunnel - my only memories of it are from Police Story 2 when JC runs out of it with a bomb strapped to his body...:-)

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