Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Double Impact - Jean Claude Van Damme (1991) - North Street, Kennedy Town

Sometimes trying to locate certain streets in HK is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack and when so many places look the same having a small (but useful) knowledge of written Chinese can save a world of pain. A prime example was my efforts in tracking down the location of Chad's riff raff bar.

In the end it was a small sign for a noodle shop that gave the game away, so many thanks to Wing Hing Noodle (永興麵家) for at least still being registered on the English Version of Open Rice despite it being closed (for how long I don't know).

Anyway, here is a few screen grabs to jog your memory.

See the building above with the stop sign next to it? That's still there. Just to the left of the stop sign is a white/red horizontal sign with 4 chinese characters on it. That sign is for the noddle shop I just mentioned. here's the same(ish) view today.

Next we can now find out where JCVD was standing when he was accosted by a very seriously ugly Bolo Yeung.

I haven't quite managed to get the correct angle, but the place he was leaning is now a pet store called "Twinkles" (oh dear...). The alleyway by the side of the shop still has a metal cabinet parked in front - it's similar to the one that we see in the JCVD shot above and although I don't think it is the same one I am quite confident that it probably belongs to a hawker/street seller and is used as a street stall. This being HK it is very feasible that the person who runs it was the same dude running it back in 1991 (note to self: next time I am in Kennedy Town I will take a few pictures down and ask whoever is there is they remember the filming).

Oh Bolo, you IS ugleeeeeee

Next we see Corey Everson looking the worst I have ever seen her (must be the haircut) jumping out of a car just before the big showdown in the bar. See the white building opposite? Well, check out the streetview shot below. The building is still there (or at least was when Google sent there car around a couple of years back) and look carefully you can just make out the red Chinese characters that form the company name (of whoever was renting the place I guess). Look between the arm of the crane.

Finally, after all that running about down alleyways and markets streets, JCVD manages to get away from his pursuers by running around in circles and ending up back on North Street, but this time further up next to the stop sign and noodle bar sign (mentioned earlier).


  1. When Chad gets dropped in the middle of the street after receiving a beating by Moon, the metal cabinet parked in front is actually open and we can see a guy selling some food. I wonder if it was an actor or the actual street seller. When I go there, hopefully I can find the guy. ;-)

    1. Hi JC - it wouldn't surprise me if it was the real guy as opposed to an actor. Whether or not he is still around remains to be seen.

  2. I remember having to look long and hard for the location we eventually used for Chads' hideaway. That said, I can't remember now whether it was at Pui O or Chi Ma Wan. Pui O now looks vastly more developed than it was when we were there and there's a complex of some description at Chi Ma Wan which wasn't there before, not to mention ferry services now which there definitely weren't before.
    I pretty sure we filmed at Pui O because I remember rounding the headland many, many times when I had my Boston Whaler, but the landscape has changed enormously if we did.
    The crew, all 100 odd of us, would get bussed to Aberdeen where we got on three or four pleasure boats for the journey over. Took about an hour and 20 minutes to get to location. I had to arrange (I was the Marine Co-ordinator as well as location manager) for JCVD to have his own, 30 knot motor cruiser to get back and forth while we plodded along making 8 knots if we were lucky...
    And I remember one day having to send the cruiser back to HK island to bring one Janet Jackson to location so she could have lunch with VD. She got off the boat, so petite and demure, clearly wondering what the hell she was doing there - it wasn't long before she was on the boat again, back to Central and the Mandarin where things were a little more civilised. She brightened my day though.

    1. I've never been to Pui O so can't say one way or the other, but when I loacted the Chi Ma Wan bit I was pretty sure I had the right place. The same pier is there even if the old houses have been torn down. Having said that yes, the Sea Ranch has been built in the intervening time - a big flop it seems advertised as a weekend escape for rich city types but failing to attract anyone. The ferry to there is not that regular and leaves from Peng Chau, I believe.

      Here, have a look - maybe it will be enough to tempt you back to HK...or not :-)

    2. "having lunch with VD" sounds as though we should be making a trip to the STD clinic...

      But wow, Janet Jackson - how cool is that!?

  3. Thinking about it now, I seem to remember there was a scout, or outward bound building behind where we were filming so find that, find the location. Could be the complex at Chi Ma Wan I see through Google Maps is an expanded outward bound area, but I so remember rounding a headland to get to the location and the geographic layout of Pui O appears to 'fit' perfectly.
    I remember the Sea Ranch well as it was the first place I looked for locations. It was deserted though there were regular high speed hover ferries departing from a floating pier to the right of Queens Pier in central as you looked over the harbour. You're right, it didn't really take off..

    1. aha! in that case I believe I have found it: Mong Tung Wan - which is the bay between Pui O and my original guess. There is a place called Mong Tung Wan hostel at the far end of the beach which would fit your description, and actually, no you have said it - the beach there has the tell tale boulders strewn about the beach.

      *slaps forehead in realisation*

      and of course the village houses we see on the film are still there, although slightly modernised...

      Many thanks Neil - I'm not infallible but it certainly helps me when someone with knowledge can point me in the right direction (literally). I will change the related post.

  4. There you go! Well found!!
    A little story...
    I found the fishing junk we used as Chad's boat, came from Aberdeen, family had been fishing in and around HK for generations. Proper sea-faring folk. I'd been using my 21' Boston Whaler to scout locations and used it during the production, too.
    The captain of the junk, whose name I forgot, had been aboard baots all his life. One day, during filming, he came to me and said his family coouldn't eat the catered food we brought to location everyday, and could he borrow my boat - easily capable of 50 knots, with twin 275hp Evinrudes - to head over to Cheung Chau to get lunch. I said sure, no problem, and he boarded my boat which was tied up alongside the pier. He told me he would go to his boat, anchored about 100m offshore, to collect a couple of others and get going straight away so he could be back before we started shooting after lunch.
    In he gets, fires the engines up and loops round to head toward his boat. He rams the throttles forward, the Whaler takes off and before he knows it he's covered the 100 meters or so.. and forgotten to throttle back. Smack! 20mm thick fibreglass meets 18 inches of solid, heavy teak. Writes the end of my boat off. Completely destroyed, though I managed to save the engines. And he complained later that while I was now down a boat, he never got lunch...

    1. yes many thanks.

      I hope you had insurance!! I have a friend who has/had the fastest boat in HK. It's a 7m fibreglass thingy that goes through water like a ski with two 250cc engines strapped to the back. All there is on top is a wheel and 4 of those stand uppy seat things (you can tell I am not nautically inclined...). Anyway, this thing goes so fast the marine police kept stopping him. Not to tell him off but to see what he had that was making it shift.

      Soon after they invested in a bunch of similarly shaped boats with twin 250cc engines strapped to the back, but due to the amount of kit onboard they are still a bit slower. And they even managed to crash one of them too!!

      You know you have a great ability for recall. DO you have diaries from these years or is this all off the top of your head. I'm impressed either way. These stories are adding up to what would be a great little memoir, Neil. Keep them coming please.

  5. Funnily enough, I found my filofax (yep, everyone had one back in the day) and in it are details of exactly when I started/finished each of the major projects I was involved with from 1988, 89 and 1990. So, for example, I can tell you I did 7 days pre-pro from December 18 through 24, 1988 and 114 days pre-pro for an 82 day shoot, January 4 through August 11, 1989 on 'In the Shadow of China' (which had the working title of 'Snakehead).
    Most of the anectodal stuff is recall and as tend to think in pictures as opposed to words my visual recollection of events, places, people etc is pretty good. So an image will often spark a whole chain of recall - for the scenes at the golf course for Noble House, for example, I can tell you what I was wearing, where the production vehicles were located, who was allowed to use the golf carts to get to and from location, where the hair and makeup were located and where the craft service tables were set up. I can also tell you we had a pretty 'short' day (probably about 8 hours) and that it was in the last week of filming.