Sunday, 30 November 2014

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter, Hong Kong

Blink and you'll miss it but when Chuck goes to visit his Vietnam war buddy, Leroy (played by Bob Minor), you are given the impression that we are in Aberdeen still, however, the background tells us we are actually in Aldrich Bay aka Shau Kei Wan.

Leroy lives in the white building above, right in front of the water. But when we look back we can see the distinctive shapes of Kowloon Peak on the left and the Anderson Road quarry at the right. Now if you look carefully at the area directly behind Chuck's head you will see some more excavation. This is actually Cha Kwo Ling and is where the entrance (Kowloon-side) of the Eastern Harbour Tunnel is. The tunnel didn't open until 1989, but the area looks bare because it was quarried and mined for many years (producing feldspar and quartz aggregate). If you pass this place today you won't see any of that type of activity, but you may recognise some of it from the opening of Double Impact.

Now, as can be expected, this part of HK has also seen lots of change and the waterfront has been beautified significantly, and so the closest I can get to a similar angle is the part of the waterfront directly in front of the Tam Kung Temple - on Tam Kung Temple Road.

Now, I'm not saying this was the exact position, but this is about as close I can get without physically going there. I haven't been there for a while, but if you do go to Shau Kei Wan you can a lot worse than visit the Museum of Coastal Defence. Great place and not far from here.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Fenwick Pier Street Elevated Road, Hong Kong

A fairly easy one to pinpoint here but the location, much like the rest of the harbour front, is undergoing significant changes as the latest reclamation nears completion. This is the flyover that takes you from Fenwick Pier Street up and over onto Harcourt Road in front of Admiralty Station. Looking at these pictures makes me miss the low-rise version of Kowloon...

The lower picture shows the HK Academy for Performing Arts on the right. Those of you who have read my Noble House posts will know that building was used to portray the Ho Pak Bank a couple of years previously. Here is the same area today - lots more greenery at least.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong

A foreign produced movie in HK wouldn't be the same without some scenes from Aberdeen, right? And so it is with Chuck, whose girlfriend lives on a nice wooden junk moored in the harbour somewhere. Except, in Forced Vengeance we also get to see some land-side angles as well including a brief glimpse of the old HK Electric power station that used to sit where South Horizons is now (the power station was moved over the Lamma Island).

The high rises at the back were, and still are, the harbour facing blocks of the Ap Lei Chau Govt Housing Estate which was first occupied a couple of years prior to filming in 1980. Lei Chak House on the left and Lei Ning House on the right. We also get a view facing back towards Hong Kong side.

The white building centre right is actually part of the Aberdeen Chinese Permanent Cemetery, it's one of the Columbariums (that's an ashes storage building to you and me), and the high rises at the back mark the are where Aberdeen town is (there are plenty more high rises these days). The next two shots show the Ap Lei Chau road bridge, which wasn't actually opened properly until a year after this was filmed - so perhaps it was still under construction at this stage? The lower picture just gives us a more generous view of the aforementioned Pa Lei Chau Estate with the two closest blocks being Lei Moon House (upper and lower blocks) which also look to still be under construction at this stage.

This last shot shows Chuck working the small rib from his girlfriend's boat back to the harbour in the distance.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Argyle Street, Kowloon

A quick establishing shot (for what I can't remember) that looks to have been taken from the KCR rail bridge that crosses Argyle Street.

I can't get the same angle from Streetview for obvious reasons, but the snap below gives a reasonable impression of how it looks today. Obviously there are a few extra skyscrapers in Mongkok these days, but the older tenements are still around as is the Argyle Street Water Supplies Department building (you can just make out the front face of it on the right hand side of the top screen grab).

Monday, 24 November 2014

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - Po Tung Road, Sai Kung

Another quickie here, and back to Sai Kung for a brief shot of the car driving home. It's a night shot but there are some landmarks that made this identification a little easier. On the right is the block of apartments that face the road. I don't know if this block has a name or whether it just goes by its street numbers (which would be 50 -76 Po Tung Road). Anyway, the block (and its unseen neighbour behind it to the right) were built in 1975 - almost old-aged in HK terms!

Another clue is the 3-storey house on the left hand side of the road with the 1st and 2nd floor lights on. This building is also still around - although being a private village house there are no records of when it was built, but seems to have the address of #10 Po Tung Road.

The major difference you can see compared with the modern Streetview capture below is the absence of the apartment blocks in the distance. This is the twin towers of Sai Kung Garden which was built circa 1991 - hence why it was still an open space in 1982.

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon

I'll forgo the usual, cliched view of the plane coming in to land at Kai Tak for a different angle on the airport building that hasn't been seen so much on the pages of this blog. My own memories of the place are rather vague because I was only there under two circumstances - either arriving, in which case I was too excited to pay any attention, or leaving in which case I was too upset and depressed to be bothered with anything else.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Haiphong Road, Kowloon

Does anyone remember Catch 22? Well for those of you who do here is a brief reminder courtesy of Rummy's Cut as the cops drive from Canton Road down into Haiphong Road and park next to the Silvercord Centre.

The building in the background, in case the partially obscured name wasn't a big enough clue, is the Harbour City development which consists of numerous blocks built over the past 40 years - the oldest probably being the Grand Ocean Theatre which went up in 1969. The building we can see with the curved windows is actually the (currently Marco Polo) Gateway Hotel, built in 1981.

The Silvercord has gone a bit upmarket since this series was filmed and, as with the rest of the territory, the mall is pretty much a luxury goods market aimed at the Mainland walking money machines...ooops, I mean "tourists".

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Kowloon Walled City, Kowloon

One of the scenes from Rummy's Cut involves the gang heading over to the former Walled City in Kowloon to investigate the death of poor old Rummy.

The first scene is a panning shot that tracks from left to right across the outside of the tenements before moving down to focus on the unmarked police car. Rather than stick a bunch of screencaps here I was have managed to stitch a bunch of shots together to make the rather interesting picture below.

Here are a few more shots from inside the Walled City, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before such as in Bloodsport.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - TyTam Villa, Tai Tam

Bruce Lee fans will recognise some of the scenes of the coastline where Chuck makes his final ascent to battle because this is the same area used in Enter the Dragon when the fighters leave their boat and disembark onto Han's Island.

Well, roughly the same area at least because you can see the stone jetty and pillbox that are seen in that film in the shot below (the ramp and pillbox are centre left). I'm sure Chuck probably knew that was where his former buddy, Lee, had filmed 10 or so years earlier.

Next up we see a small hut on the hillside with some guards at the entrance to an uphill path that leads to the boss's estate.

It's a bit over grown these days, so without physically going there it is hard to see if the hut is still around, but I suspect it is. The way it works in HK is that unless you will make a pile of money by knocking it down and redeveloping it, it stays intact - so my betting is that the hut is still standing along with that concreted ledge in the lower picture.

As if we needed anymore confirmation of the location, here is a shot of the area I have shown before in various places. It shows the three former mansions that occupied the top of the cliff before the American Club came along and knocked them all down to build their country club. The buildings are, in left to right order, Stanley Lodge, Tytam Villa and Palm Villa (the latter with the terraced tennis courts used in Enter the Dragon). The picture was taken circa 1982 - so about the same time as this filming - and I have circled the area we see on Forced Vengeance. Can you see the little hut? If you zoom in you can also make out the steps that lead up through the trees.

Anyway, the path leads up to...well, in the film it leads up to Tytam Villa, which serves as the big boss's lair. In reality I have no idea, it could have led to anyone of these three former great houses.

When I originally viewed this film I thought that Chuck may have been filming at Palm Villa, but on closer inspection (largely by looking at the window pattern and the existence of annexes either side) it seems that this garden and house were Tytam Villa.

It still looks in okay condition in the film, at least the grounds do, but it wouldn't be long before it was removed and the same spot now seems to house the main clubhouse of the American Club.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Forced Vengeance - Chuck Norris (1982) - Tai Tam Tuk Pumping Station, Hong Kong

The first of a couple of posts from this area which sees the finale of the film as Chuck takes on the bad guys. The initial stage takes place on the baddies boat which is moored at the jetty right in front of the old pumping station, and we get to see the building itself as Chuck stages his one man ninja-like attack against multiple gun-toting foes. There is a little bit of history on the station here, and here are the screen captures.

And here are some other shots of the harbour (in the background) from the same fight scene.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Private Eyes - Hui Bros (1976) - Tin Hau Temple Road, Hong Kong

Credit again to Arthur for locating this similar road scene, not too far away from the previous Braemar Hill Road locale seen in the last post. This time we move down the slope a bit to where Braemar Hill Road intersects with Tin Hau Temple Road.

In the screen caps above, the Porsche is turning right to continue along Tin Hau Temple Road. The road leading from the left is the bottom end of Braemar Hill Road. As mentioned by Arthur in his comment to me when he identified the location, the buildings on the opposite side of the road is still around. They are Ho King View and Tempo Court (from left to right), both built circa 1971 - just a few years before this film was made. Here's what the area looks like now. Thanks Arthur!

The Private Eyes - Hui Bros (1976) - Braemar Hill Road, North Point

A big thanks to Arthur once again for finding the location of this spot from the absolutely great The Private Eyes. When I first saw this screen grab I really had no clue at all as to where it may have been and was considering almost anywhere before consigning it to the help page.

The eventual location, revealed by Arthur, hadn't even been on my possible list which just goes to show how dumb I can be sometimes. Never mind, here it is with surprisingly little change over the past 40 years.

The exact location is where Braemar Hill Road splits into two by Choi Sai Woo Park in front of the Pacific Palisades apartment complex. The building up there on the slope in both the screencap above and Streetview below is the Kiangsu Chekiang College and is still up there.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Bruce Payne (1990) - Ocean Park, Aberdeen

Until 2001, the Aberdeen-side of Ocean Park (at the bottom of the long escalators) was dedicated to "ancient China". It was part of the park called "Middle Kingdom" (the direct translation of the Chinese term for "China") and consisted of some Imperial looking Chinese buildings around a central square. On my first trip to HK I did actually go here and stayed to watch the so-called kung fu demonstration - basically a bunch of guys doing the standard circus acts of bending rebar in their throats, throwing chopsticks into a target board and walking barefoot across supposedly razor sharp knives.

Anyway, in the next few grabs you can see the buildings I was referring to in the background. The top one shows what looks like a temple at the top left but it was just a cheap imitation that, seemingly, wasn't popular with the burgeoning Mainland masses. You can also see the aforementioned escalators snaking down the mountain.