Saturday, August 19, 2017

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Gate 47, Hong Kong International Airport

Taking a quick break (as opposed to the 3 week stay in Taipei I just returned from last week) has reminded me of this location I neglected to post all those moons ago when I was posting about Contagion. Anyway, a familiar sight to anyone who has left HK via Chek Lap Kok airport. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Lion Rock, Kowloon

Golgo finally gets his man as he attempts to flee his impenetrable fortress island. Golgo has sneakily climbed up to the top of a nearby hill and is dangling from ropes as he lines up a shot for the bad guy's fleeing helicopter.

In reality the peak is in fact, Lion Rock, and it really looks like Chiba went the whole distance and was personally hung up on there just for this scene. So, big props to the man from Japan. One of the last times we saw this rock was when Aussie stunt supremo, Grant Page, did an impressive forward facing rappel down it for Kung Fu Killers back in 1974.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Bethanie, Pok Fu Lam

The diplomat is hiding away in a rather nice looking Gothic building where he is protected by his sidekick, Gaston (played by long time Hong Konger Bill Lake). The building is in fact a former sanitarium called Bethanie and is still located down in Pok Fu Lam on the west coast of Hong Kong Island. These days it is part of the HK Academy for Performing Arts and often used for student recitals, but it is also possible to visit as a tourist. It's been cleaned up since this film was made and looks to have had some of the decoration removed from the top of some walls. For a nice modern day comparison, check out Andi's recent blog post here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Ninepins, Sai Kung

The main establishing shot used for illustrating the island where Golgo's enemy is hiding is a long shot of the Ninepin group of islands that lie in the far southeast of Hong Kong's waters. It also happens to be one of my favourite dive spots in HK so I am quite familiar with the location. 

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - St Paul's Church Facade, Macau

The ultimate target of Golgo's wrath is a slippery diplomat who takes refuge on an island fortress. The film wants us to believe that the island is somewhere near Macau so we are presented with some establishing shots of the famous church facade and some views from the nearby fort. I suspect it's stock footage but you never know.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Repulse Bay Hotel, Repulse Bay

There is a brief scene that appears to have been filmed in the garden of The Repulse Bay Hotel as Golgo's rather pompous British client talks to him about his predicament. Pity we don't get to see the rest of the building, but perhaps it was filmed without permission?

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Garden Road, Central

Some car action around Central takes in some of the sites along Garden Road including the US Consulate and the old Govt offices East Wing where the road joins with Lower Albert Road. The interesting thing about the Consulate is that in the 1977 it still had the external balconies - no doubt removed for security purposes and to give the place a rather more imposing appearance.

Looking up (south) Garden Road
The old front of the US Consulate

The view to Lower Albert Road and East Wing

Looking down (north).

You can just catch a glimpse of the Murray Building's columns in the lower picture. This former office block is currently being turned into a hotel.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Chinese Permanent Cemetery, Tsuen Wan

This is where the gang boss is buried after being assassinated at the swimming pool opening ceremony. Golgo was trying to kill him but was beaten to it by a female assassin hired by the man's mistress.

I'm fairly certain this is Tsuen Wan cemetery because of the proximity to water and the terracing in the background. Also, this place seems to be the easiest for film makers to use (maybe because it has a road running through the middle of it).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - View from Checkerboard Hill, Kowloon

Checkerboard Hill was once a favourite vantage point for viewing planes flying in on their approach to Kai Tak. The hill sits on the northern end of Kowloon Tsai Park and got its name from the two red/white painted checkerboards that acted as a visual marker for pilots coming in to land. It was at the arrival of these markers that the pilots would have to execute a 40 degree turn in order to be correctly lined up for the runway.

One of the checkerboards is still visible on the south facing slope of the hill - although it is in bad need of some restoration before it completely fades (so come on then, HK Govt). I'm guessing that the western facing checkerboard is still there but is now obscured by significant tree growth.

Anyway, for those who wish to go the the top of the hill it is part of Lok Fu Park and is accessible from Junction Road. The vantage point is a public space built over the hilltop reservoir and it's usually deserted. Obviously there are no planes to watch anymore, but it's a shame the place can't have some sort of small gallery built up there so people can see what the view was once like.

In the meantime you will have to settle for these few screencaps from Golgo, taken at the exact same spot above the southern checkerboard. The building in the immediate foreground of the third picture is the Holy Family Canossian College. In fact many of the buildings in that shot are still around thanks to the low amount of redevelopment in that part of Kowloon City/Kowloon Tong.

The squatter village in the last picture is the same one occupying the Carpenter Road Park that can be seen in Roaring Fire - filmed 5 years later and starring Sonny Chiba's famous protege, Hiroyuki Sanada.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, Wanchai

I was a bit confused about this one at first because I initially thought it was Yaumatei, but after close inspection it turned out to be Causeway Bay, in this case the background was more of a clue than anything. Anyway, it's where Golgo goes with the prostitute after he has saved her from her abusive boyfriend/pimp.

Look carefully at the bottom right of the lowest picture and you can see the elevated road that curves from Victoria Park Road around onto Gloucester Road by Victoria Park.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon

The old airport appears a couple of times in the film, the first time is as a showcase of Golgo's skills when he takes out a target with his trademark bullet between the eyes. We also catch a brief glimpse of the airport at the end of the film when Golgo leaves HK.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Lung Cheung Road, Tai Wo Ping

This next one shows Lung Cheung Road next to the Shek Kip Mei Service Reservoir Playground in Tai Wo Ping. I live close by so I have been able to replicate the lower shot almost perfectly courtesy of a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Lung Cheung Road.

Look carefully and you can spot some circular objects at the far end of the playground (to the left of the brown hut). There were once some 1960's-style circular canopied seats (like the ones still found at the nearby Lung Cheung Road Lookout). These were removed when the road system was enhanced and there is now a flyover connecting Tai Po Road to Lung Cheung Road zooming overhead.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - King's Road, North Point

Another of many establishing shots that show various parts of Hong Kong, this time we are on King's Road in North Point, not far from the North Point tram terminus.

The top picture shows us looking west from the north side of King's Road towards the curve in the road where the State Theatre is situated. You can't see that rather interesting building on screen but the buildings at the far end (Nam Tin Building and Southern Building) are right next to it. The camera then pans left so that it faces the opposite direction. The older buildings next to the "Shell" sign have been demolished and replaced by a pedestrian walkway over the road.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Braemar Hill, North Point

A long shot of some high-rises was taken from Kowloon-side looking over towards the area of North Point and Braemar Hill. The most prominent buildings are perhaps the white collection of high-rises centre and right. These are up on Cloud View Road: Broadview Terrace (centre) and Evelyn Towers (to the right). You can still see Evelyn Towers but Broadview Terrace is now largely obscured by an even taller development that has been built in front. It's a common occurrence in Hong Kong...Caveat Emptor

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Fenwick Street, Wanchai

A fair amount of action goes on around Fenwick Street. It's the location of the night club from where Golgo's crimelord-target runs his network. There are some nice shots showing the various neon signs for the clubs and topless bars that were once more prolific. The location can be identified by the fact that we can see the "Back Door Club" in the background. As previously discovered, this was located at 42-50 Lockhart Road - on the corner of Lockhart Road and Fenwick Street.

There is also this shot taken at the junction of Lockhart and Fenwick looking south. The columns in the picture belonged to a building that stood on where the Empire Hotel now stands.

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Nathan Road, Mongkok

Another establishing shot that shows a road junction with the prominent restaurant sign in the background for the San Ah (i.e. New Asia) Restaurant or 新亞大酒樓. As far as I can tell this restaurant was almost directly opposite the Mayflower Restaurant which Thomas was able to help locate when I was looking at locations for You Only Live Twice. This means the junction we are looking at is most likely to be the one where Shantung Street meets Nathan Road on the east side of Nathan.

I've only been able to find references to the restaurant being along Nathan Road and not the exact address, so if anyone can confirm or deny it would be helpful.