Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Geostorm - Gerard Butler (2017) - Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon City

If the sudden jump from Mongkok to Sham Shui Po was too much of a leap of faith for you then this one will send you loopy because the immediate scene following the Wong Chuk Street is in fact all the way over in Kowloon City along the main road there, Nga Tsin Wai Road. Wong Chuk Street suddenly turns into Lion Rock Road as Wu skids around another corner in his attempts to outrun the apocalypse. The first two screen caps show the location from the junction with Lion Rock Road. The lower two screencaps is the view from the next junction with Hau Wong Road. You can make out the EFCC Grace Church building on the left of the screen and the hoardings of the building site that became "Billionaire Luxe" (last pic on left). That rather naffly named condominium building (trust me, by HK standards it's only mildy naff) was completed in 2016 so the fact that it is a building site here appears to fit with the principal photography timeline of 2014/15.

There are some further snippets along the same road but the next block over as we come to the end of the real Hong Kong locations. These next few bits were filmed between Lung Kong Road and South Wall Road.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Geostorm - Gerard Butler (2017) - Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po

After zipping along Tai Nan Street, Wu (his character name in this film is the very uninspired "Cheng Long"), makes a left onto Wong Chuk Street in his attempt to escape from the exploding roadway.

I'm surprised Robert Chow from the so-called "Silent Majority", or someone equally soft-minded, here in Hong Kong hasn't hijacked this footage and edited it to make it look like the result of Hong Kong protesters...

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Geostorm - Gerard Butler (2017) - Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po

Taking a leaf from Michael Bay's playbook the action quickly moves to Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po. I say Michael Bay because he filmed at exactly the same location just a few months before when he was shooting Transformers: Age of Extinction. If you follow that link you can see exactly the same shop signs in the top image (the corner we are driving around is Shek Kip Mei Street) as can be seen in Geostorm below.

The movie has been edited to make you think this is close to the last location, but actually its more than a kilometre away. This place blows up too.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Geostorm - Gerard Butler (2017) - Tung Choi Street, Mongkok

We first get to see Daniel Wu, looking quite nerdy, working at his desk and finding some anomaly on his computer display. He heads out to get some refreshment at a store. This scene was filmed all the way over on Tung Choi Street in Mongkok. The stairs at the back lead up to the Mongkok Road pedestrian walkway that has featured a few times in the last year or so.

Readers may know this street better as "Goldfish Street" because this is where all the aquarium and pet shops are located in Mongkok. I was walking around here one evening after the shops had closed and was astounded to see the public bins stuffed full off plastic bags containing the dead fish that weren't sold during the day.

There is a sudden heat spike and the ground explodes as some underground pipes melt and burst through the surface. Wu quickly drives away closely followed by the exploding pipes. There is another quick scene shot from the other end of Tung Choi Street (north of Bute Street) before a cut/edit to the next part of the escape sequence.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Geostorm - Gerard Butler (2017) - Central, Hong Kong

I recently watched Geostorm on Netflix without realising that it has some proper Hong Kong locations in it. So, after getting hold of some screen caps I felt it was worthy of inclusion here. It stars Gerard Butler (last seen on this blog leaping from the top of the then under construction 2IFC) as a scientist whose global system of weather controlling satellites protects the earth from sever weather. That is until someone decides to hack the system to wreak havoc across the world.

One of the places that gets to see the sharp end of the satellite system's power (it's called "Dutch Boy" in the film - no doubt a reference to the dude trying to plug up the leaky dam wall with his various appendages) is Hong Kong when hot weather havoc is experienced as the satellites cause some underground piping to overheat and explode.

Daniel Wu plays the HK contact for the good guys and it appears that this footage was shot several years before the film's release. IMDB says the principal photography was started in October 2014 so I guess the screen caps we are about to look at date back a good 5 or 6 years.

Anyway, the establishing shot for Hong Kong is a nice nighttime aerial view of central, including the aforementioned 2 IFC tower.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Mid-Levels Escalator, Central

Here's the last one from Je L'aimais for the time being. It is just a brief shot of part of the mid-levels escalators. Although I don't use this thing at all and am not really that familiar I think that the top image was shot near the steps from Caine Road (they're the only ones I can see that lead up on the right hand side) and the lower images was most likely filmed along the Staunton Street entrance.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wanchai

Another of the very brief locations used in the film, as part of Pierre recounting his story in flashback, is the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre. This place has been part of the harbour backdrop since it was constructed in the mid-90's and is where the handover ceremony took place back in 1997. I think this may be the first time I have see the inside used for a foreign film (despite covering almost 150 overseas/foreign movies filmed in Hong Kong, there is still at least another 40 or so I have yet to source and view).

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Peel Street, Midlevels

One of the more frequently occurring incidental locations in this film is the upper section of Peel Street where the Mid-levels escalator runs up over Mosque Junction. Several times the actors were filmed walking up and down the steps here. The impression seems to be that the steps are close to Mathilde's apartment, but we already know that place is miles away in North Point.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Blue House, Stone Nullah Lane

Although I have already identified Mathilde's apartment as being located over in North Point, the film makers decided to use the ground floor of the locally famous "Blue House" as the entrance for her flat. This place is a large example of the type of balconied Chinese tenements that were once more prolific in Hong Kong. Many years ago it was also the location for the bone setting clinic run by famous Hung Gar practitioner, Lam Sai Wing - a student of the much fabled Wong Fei Hung (yes, he was a real person). It recently underwent a renovation, although thankfully not in the usual euphemistic HK way of being demolished but a real renovation that saw it repainted and restored. I haven't been this way for many years (not since before this film was made, perhaps) so don't know if the renovation/restoration kept the original wooden stairs and guardrails intact.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Empire Apartments, North Point

Mathilde's Hong Kong flat is supposedly on the roof top of a building and there is one scene when the two leave the apartment and have to cross the roof in order to get down. These scenes were filmed on top of the Empire Apartment building on the corner of Hei Wo Street in North Point. This is in fact the residential building next to the State Theatre. The building was constructed in 1957 - just two years prior to the construction of the neighbouring Empire Theatre, which was the State Theatre's original name. It looks as though the film crew did use a real apartment that has been constructed on the buildings roof top. Roof top squatting has been a common occurrence in Hong Kong for many decades and lots of old buildings still have illegally built additions at the top - often cemented in to make them look like part of the original building. I reckon this is one of those that has never been flagged by the Govt - out of sight out of mind.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Fo Tan Cooked Food Market, Fo Tan

One of the venues that the pair go to on their trips out is the cooked food market in Fo Tan. For those who don't know what these places are they are the HK equivalent of Singapore's Hawker Bazaars - essentially a cluster of informal eateries serving cheap but usually excellent quality food. Despite them being a thriving and excellent part of HK food culture, the HK government hates al fresco dining (the HK Govt hates anyone enjoying themselves) and likes them to be inside and out of everybody's way, and so there are a bunch of purpose-built cooked food centres all over Hong Kong serving really good food but lacking the outdoor environment.

Fo Tan is one of those places where the outdoor 'dai pai dong' format still exists and it's well worth a visit. I was at this very same place just a few months ago before the COVID19 measures were put into place and it was excellent. The Govt punishes these places by denying them alcohol licenses but the proprietors just tell you to head up the road to the local 7-11 or 759 store and buy some cheap beer and they will provide ice buckets and bottle openers for those wanting some beer refreshment.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Grand Hyatt Hotel, Wanchai

The hotel that Pierre is staying at for his business trip is the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Wanchai. He walks in to the lobby after having a wander around the streets and turns to see Mathilde waiting for him at the bar. The same hotel lobby was used a year previously for the filming of Largo Winch.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Times Square, Causeway Bay

So despite the fact that his meeting was obviously taking place in Central, when Pierre descends from hi meeting in he office lift he has been transported all the way over to Times Square in Causeway bay. I wonder if he used the same Central/Causeway Bay space/time portal used by Lara Croft a few years earlier?

Anyway, this next set of images have reminded me that Times Square did indeed used to have external elevators that linked up the floor on the lower levels of the property. The building underwent a major refurbishment in the second half of 2009 that removed them and now this external wall is just plain and empty.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Je l'aimais - Daniel Auteuil (2009) - Central View, Hong Kong

The next movie up is another French one, this one also from 2009 (this was a good year for French co-productions in Hong Kong with I Come With The Rain and Vengeance also filmed around that time). It is basically a love story with Pierre (Daniel Auteuil) revealing a love affair from his past to his daughter-in-law following her break up with his son. It's told in flashbacks and much of the affair carried on in Hong Kong so most of the flashbacks are set there.

It starts off with Pierre's first encounter with Mathilde (Marie-Josée Croze) who he meets during a business meeting because she is his translator. The meeting takes place in a nondescript office with a view across Central.

The location? Well, the view makes me think this must be from the Prince's Building facing onto Statue Square and Chater Road area because we can quite clearly see Hutchinson House, Bank of America Tower and the golden Far East Financial Centre. However, I think this is actually a studio set and the image in the window is back projected because the window style doesn't suite Prince's Building and there are no others that appear to tick all the boxes. If you know any different, feel free to let me know.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing - William Holden (1955) - Pok Fu Lam Road, Kennedy Town

Another mystery solved thanks to help from the HK Mapping services online aerial photo catalogue. Actually, I already updated the Gwulo thread on this because David Bellis had started with the locations from this film way back in 2009. As you have noticed the past few posts are mainly films I covered years ago but had various places that simply eluded me and this one was no different. The main reason (as is often the case) is because the area it was filmed has changed significantly and that is why the old aerial photos have been really helpful.

The location is one of those seen during the ambulance driving sequence that starts after the opening credits have finished. The scene starts on Queen's Road Central and finishes at The Fairview but there are a few brief snippets of other locations in between and one of them is this place in the image below.

What this shows is an old bend in Pok Fu Lam Road that has since been redeveloped. The road has been straightened so that it cuts straight across the gap on the left of the screen but the bend does still exist and contains the Pok Fu Lam bus terminus. You can see the area after development courtesy of  this Foxbat post. The original path of the road leads around the back of the terminus past the petrol station.

Well, anyway, mystery solved. If you click on my very first link above it takes you to the comments on Gwulo and David has subsequently posted to fill in some of the details of the area.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Weiße Fracht für Hongkong - Dietmar Schönherr (1963) - Kin Lee Shipyard, Siu Lam San Tsuen

To continue with the theme of lost shipyards (see my last post) here is one from a little bit later (1963). In this case it is the location used for the finale of the German production, Weiße Fracht für Hongkong, as Brad Harris throws himself around various structures kicking bad guys long before Jackie Chan had ever thought of doing it.*

Anyway, it turns out that the Kin Lee Shipyard (建利船廠) was located next to the area that was to become Lok On Pai desalination plant. To be honest there wasn't much around here back in the 60s (and into the 70s) other than the nearby Castle Peak Hotel so it wouldn't surprise me if the production crew stayed at the hotel when they were filming these scenes. I haven't been able to find out much about the company (in fact I don't even know what its Anglicised name was and the one I have sued it just a guess) other than a couple of snippets in Chinese newspapers from the 50's that suggested it may also have had a shipyard in Kwun Tong, so if anyone can fill in the blanks please feel free to comment or email.

For the exact location I can only say that it now has a large residential development on it (how many times have I said this before on this blog?) called "Aqua Blue" so if any readers live there they may find this little post of some interest.

* In a nice coincidence, one of the ruffians is played by Siu Tin Yuen, the father of Yuen Woo Ping and the man who made his name in later years as Beggar So in Jackie Chan's Drunken Master.