Monday, January 26, 2015

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei

Well, actually Nathan Road where it intersects with Public Square Street, but if I just wrote Nathan Road it could mean anywhere along that rather lengthy piece of tarmac. Anyway, after hopping onto another bus via the hanging Emperor Jewellery sign, the two buses are side by side each other at the traffic lights.

No bus hopping occurs and Joji (Sanada) heads down Public Square Street whilst his pursuers are whisked away north up Nathan Road.

You can just see the green roof of the Yau Ma Tei Tin Hau Temple on the right hand side of the last picture. I wonder what all those pedestrians were thinking when they saw those crazy guys go by on the top of the buses?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Steps by U Lam Terrace, Sheung Wan

Anyone who has visited the Museum of Medical Sciences will know these steps. It seems as though the crew for the Chinese Boxes episode didn't feel the need to travel too far for various scenes from this film (you should recall the car chase was also filmed around here). Look carefully and you can see the edge of the museum building in the background.

This place hasn't really changed much at all, but it looks as though the museum has had a bit of a spruce up as has the cornice on the top of the wall.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Nathan Road, Kowloon

In possibly one of the greatest action scenes from the early 80's - and in what appears to be a scene later heavily borrowed from by Jackie Chan in Police Story 2 - Joji (Sanada) jumps on board a double-decker bus to escape his pursuers.

What follows is some pretty cool fighting and some impressive physical stunts being played out along the lower section of Nathan Road in TST. Yes, this IS the same chase scene that just a few seconds ago saw him jumping over the wall of Man Mo Temple over on HK Island - movie world geography once again taking liberties with physical geography.

So, first Sanada climbs out of the window of the upper level (he's already had a fight on the lower one) and onto the roof.

Notice the planetarium dome in the background and the corner of the Peninsula Hotel just visible on the right of the screen. In 1982 the rest of the Cultural Centre and Museum of Art had yet to be built. He's then followed up there by his numerous attackers and a big fight ensues with no one falling off.

On this second shot we can see the Peninsula at the end of the road and immediately behind it (the next building along towards the camera) was most likely the former Peninsula Court hotel in its very last year of operation before being demolished to make way for the Kowloon Hotel. Somewhere closer to us behind that would be Prestige Tower and the building with the extended part jutting over the pavement looks to be Alpha House. That would make the MTR exit at the bottom right exit E.

At last we make it up to where the old Hyatt Hotel stood (formerly The President Hotel) and the rather well-known Emperor Watch and Jewellery sign that used to hang outside. The flags on the left side mark the Nathan Road entrance to the hotel - nowadays the hotel site is occupied by the iSore...sorry, I mean iSquare Mall. Sanada grabs onto the bottom of it to escape.

He then hangs on twenty feet above the road and waits for another passing bus before dropping on to its roof.

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong

A quick one here. Another part of this film's epic chase scene sees Sanada running past the old Bank of China Building in Central. That's the bank building on the left of the first screen capture.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan

One of the standout scenes in this film is the chase sequence when Joji is seen by the guys who murdered his brother. What follows has to be one of the most crazy chase sequences I've watched for a long time, and it proves that Sanada can out-Jackie Mr Chan himself and was doing it several years before Chan's contemporary-set action films became the vogue.

Anyway, the initial part of the chase sees Joji being chased down Ladder Street and then into the Man Mo Temple itself. Climbing and jumping over the walls and causing all sorts of mayhem - it makes me wonder if the film makers had permission to do what they were doing.

Down the steps of Ladder Street

Once at the bottom of the steps he cuts across and leaps over the side wall of the temple garden. The postbox that used to stand here has been in quite a few films over the years, as has the temple itself

Once inside he takes out pretty much everyone who gets near to him including the following poor fellow.
Watch your step there!

After taking out the dudes, he sees his chance to escape and promptly jumps right up onto the front wall, runs along the length of it before jumping down and scarpering away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Men of the Dragon - Jared Martin (1974) - Blue Pool Road, Happy Valley

Well, now that I know the location of the zig-zag staircase, it's fairly easy to see that this shot was taken at the top of the staircase along Blue Pool Road. It shows Jared Martin, Robert Ito and a very young Victor Kan trying to track down the artist who just so happened to draw a picture (very quickly but also very detailed) of the scene when Martin's sister is kidnapped by the evil Joseph Wiseman and his henchmen. All very far-fetched indeed.

I can't get an exact match on the angle, but the film was shot at the top of the staircase between Mafoo Quarters and the neighbouring UNICEF building. The staircase is now fenced off in between the two buildings as you can see.

I have no idea if 60 Blue Pool Rd is the same (but modified/extended) building seen on film. It's style at the front suggests it probably is but it would be nice to have confirmation if anyone has any idea.

Men of the Dragon - Jared Martin (1974) - Hip Wo Lane, Happy Valley

I'm a bit late finding this one for Men of the Dragon - after nearly a year since my last post on it - but I had already given it up for redeveloped until I happened upon it quite by chance.

It's a strange zig-zagged staircase that the artist takes to reach his home before he is savagely beaten up by the evil bald henchman. Here's the reminder.

 And here is the very same place courtesy of Streetview.

 As you can see there has been a little bit of extra development cutting off the top part of the stairway - and it looks very much as though it is now accessible by residents only, but this little place is on Hip Wo Lane. Just of Sing Woo Road in Happy Valley. The rather nice looking building on the left is listed as "Mafoo's Quarters". In case you don't know, the term Mafoo (馬伕)is a Chinese term used to describe a stable hand. It literally means "Horse worker".

So anyway, not being to familiar with the Happy Valley area but I believe the building is owned by the Jockey Club and is staff quarters for its stable hands? Anyway, it's nice to know that this rather attractive stairway is still around - at least in a slightly modified version of its former self.

Update 2017: Actually, not so long ago I made the trip over the Happy valley to take a look for myself and grabbed the snap below.

Yellowthread Street (TV Series) - Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan

The car chase at the beginning of Chinese Boxes involves some nifty steering around the small narrow thoroughfares of the Tai Ping Shan district in Sheung Wan. With particular heavy usage is Tai Ping Shan Street itself which we see from multiple angles in an attempt to disguise the fact that it's one street.

This seems to have been a popular location for Yellowthread Street because the production crew have used this area afew times in the past.

Here are some of the screen shots and their corresponding Streetview counterparts. The first shots are taken from the top (in front of the steps that lead up/down from Bridges Street) of the street looking down towards the upper part of Tung Street on the left (there seems to be some disagreement about whether that small lane is part of Tung Street or part of Kat Cheong Street which curves around the back of the buildings on the left).

It's a bit tidier these days, relatively speaking, but the brown tiled wall (where the striped tarpaulin is fixed to) is still around as you can see. You'll notice that the distant buildings at the far end of the street are still around - the smaller tenement now painted green is No.4-6 Po Yan Street), and the taller white building behind it is the Universal Building on New Street.

The next shots show us looking back up the road towards the junction with Square Street (you can just make out the blurry name on the street sign at the back) and the steps up to Bridges Street. The first screen cap is a bit closer to the junction, the second one taken from further down the road.

The steps are still around but where there used to be a building (the one with the street sign) is now a walled off empty plot. In the far distance at the top of the steps we can just make out the building that is now the Woman's Welfare Club Western District at No. 60 Bridges Street.

The next shots shows the car chase turning off Tai Ping Shan Street onto Upper Station Street. The wall at the back is the retaining wall that holds up the northern side of Blake Garden.

As you can see the small bit of the road that extends up to the wall of Blake Garden is still a popular place to park your lorry!

The car chase sort of fizzles out when the cops get stuck behind a reversing truck. Although not strictly Tai Ping Shan Street, it's close enough to include it here at the end because it was filmed back at the top of the hill on the southern part of Blake Garden where Kui In Fong, Po Hing Fong and Caine Lane meet at the bottom of the steps next to the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences. In true film fashion the cars have done a complete circle around Blake Garden! I can't get a good recreation for the area on Streetview so will just leave you with the screen caps.

Filmed from the top of the steps up to the museum
Looking towards Po Hing Fong from Kui In Fong

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Kowloon City, Kowloon

I hadn't realised until I saw this film, but it seems as though the large area in front of the infamous Kowloon Walled City - now known as the Carpenter Road Park - was a small cottage area. In HK this means it was filled with small squatter huts.

Thankfully, the film makers seem to have taken their camera into the Walled City itself and put them up on the rooftops in order to get the following shots.

These first two shots give us a view from the top of Kowloon Walled City towards Nga Tsin Long Road (this is where we were in the last post) in Kowloon City - it's the road with the red shop awnings. The tree covered area is the previously mentioned dispensary.

A little later in the film, when Joji goes back to where his brother was killed, we get another similar view but of the area that is off to the right of these shots.

This first screen capture above shows the dispensary area on the far left of the screen and the white building in the centre is Chi Kam Court (built 1981 - virtually brand new when this film was made!) on the opposite side of Hau Wong Road. It's not white anymore...

 The next building with the brown rectangular pattern is the end of the Victory Building that fronts Lion Rock Road. It is also still around and isn't that clean anymore either :-)

The shanty town is long gone - as is the Walled City - the whole area being turned into one large park area encompassing Carpenter Road Park and the Walled City Park. Incidentally the Kowloon City Plaza has also been built on Carpenter Road right in that space in front of Chi Kam Coiurt and the Victory Building.

Roaring Fire - Hiroyuki Sanada (1982) - Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City

During the chase sequence at the beginning of the film, when Joji's brother (also played by Sanada) is chased and brutally killed, we catch a quick glance of various places. The glimpses are so quick that most are difficult to identify, but here is one where the camera lingered long enough to reveal some detail.

Just discernible on the right had side is a road sign that looks as though it says Nga Tsin Long Road, and a quick look in Streetview reveals it is indeed that road in Kowloon City. The low rise grey building with black trim at the back is the Lee Kee Memorial Dispensary. Leaky or not (ooh, can you see what I did there...:-)), it is still around and looks pretty much unchanged over the past 30 years - save for some additional rooftop railing. Even the paint job is the same. This is at the northern end of the road where it joins onto Carpenter Road. The dispensary was built in 1951 and opened for business in 1952.

It seems that quite a bit of the filming was done in this area so expect more Kowloon City shots over the coming posts.