Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Tin Hau Temple, Repulse Bay

Whoops! I totally forgot to publish this post from the start of Knock Off when the police are conducting the operation to apprehend the bomb smugglers. There are lots of sweeping camera moves all over the Tin Hau Temple and grounds at the eastern end of Repulse Bay beach.

Of course we've seen this place several times previously including That Man Bolt, Flatfoot in Hong Kong and Noble House (and I'm sure there are more). Here are the screencaps.

And we finish with a quick shot of the baddies escaping in their car along South Bay Road, just behind the temple.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Yuen On Street, Shatin

According to the credits in the film, the 2nd Unit (that means the action unit who filmed all the spectacular stunts etc) was filming in the Philippines, and there are certainly some sequences that don't look like they were in HK - such as the night time factory explosion. However, the lorry chase and roof top fight that followed the explosion definitely had some scenes filmed in Hong Kong.

In particular, the end of that scene was shot on an industrial road in Shatin called Yuen On Street. The giveaway to the location is the building at the end of the road that shows us it's the "Ever Gain Building".

You can also see it in the Streetview picture below. The petrol station has changed hands since 1997 but the Ever Gain Building is still around.

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Kowloon Bay Breakwater, Kowloon Bay

As JCVD goes off soul-searching, he decides to wander down to the breakwaters that sit across Kowloon Bay near to Kai Tak airport runway. I'm quite certain that at least one of the following screen caps is actually the previously mentioned Todd Senofonte, Van Damme's long-term stunt double. Anyway, the second shot shows the uprights of the Kwun Tong Bypass that runs along the waterfront along Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - On Lok Factory Building, Ma Tau Kok

In a very bizarre turn of events, Lin Heung restaurant toilets seem to have a time and space continuum portal inside because when JCVD goes to try and find Schneider, he miraculously appears at the top of a factory building on the other side of the harbour!

Back in '97 the building had a massive Coke advert painted in the side (I'm sure they paid for it to be on film), these days the building has a more sober beige paint job.

I find the view back the other way a bit more interesting though. You can see quite a bit behind Paul Sorvino's head including the Cattle Depot - a former abattoir turned into artists village - it's the low rise brown buildings to the left of Sorvino's shoulder. You can also see the old airport at the back.

A quick look over JCVD's shoulder reveals and interesting old block occupying the corner of Ma Hang Chung Road and Kowloon City Road, but this place is now an empty site awaiting redevelopment as you can see from the Streetview picture below.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Lin Heung Tea House, Wellington Street

The eating scene in this movie was filmed at a bona fide HK establishment called Lin Heung (蓮香樓). I've never eaten there but it always seems to make it into the guide books for its authentic Hong Kong eating experience. It may be the only place left that allows the old blokes to hang their bird cages from the ceiling while they eat (there was another similar place in Mong kok often used by filmmakers - e.g. John Woo in Hard Boiled - that went under the wrecking ball when the Langham Place mall was built).

The restaurant is on the corner of Wellington Street and Aberdeen Street but these days seem to just be listed as the Lin Heung Bakery, so I'm not sure if the restaurant itself has moved or not? I'll assume not because it looks as though the steps up the to first floor restaurant (top picture) are still accessible. Writing about this is making me feel hungry, so I may venture out this way next week and see if it has changed.

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Argyle Street, Kowloon City

After some hair raising action at the end of the rickshaw race the duo are picked up by the cops and taken to a police station for questioning. Is there a more logical place to go from Hong Kong island than Kowloon City? Of course there is but then again nowhere else would afford the chance of being able to snap a plane landing in the background, so here it is.

Sadly, I can't match the angle from Streetview but here is the police station as it currently stands. No more background planes and no more police sign sticking out from the front of the building either :-(

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - High Street, Sai Ying Pun

Some more of the race and this time a strange top down twisting view that makes me scratch my head wondering how it was achieved without putting a cameraman in extreme danger :-) I'm sure there are people reading this who can tell me so please feel free.

Anyway, a seemingly generic street in Hong Kong with the exception of a rather ornate set of stone steps at the end. It turns out the steps belong to Kau Yan Tsung Tsin Church on High Street in Sai Ying Pun - not far from the previous scene at St Stephen's Lane (just down the hill a bit, in fact).

And here is the more conventional view of it (i.e. from ground level), courtesy of Streetview. As you can see, the building that the camera seems to be flying above is the Kau Yan School next door.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - St Stephen's Lane, Mid-levels

Continuing the rickshaw race and the runners turn somehow manage to get from Eastern Street onto St Stephen's Lane, a small lane that sits on a terrace next to Bonham Road. Van Damme (or more accurately, his long-time stunt-double Todd Senofonte) runs down the lane and then does a quick kick off the steps to change direction, sending a competitor crashing into the railings at the bottom of the lane where it meets Babington Path.

Streetview from Bonham Road

 Just prior to the kick that turns the rickshaw down onto Bonham Road

Current Streetview showing Golden Phoenix Court at the back

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Eastern Street, Sai Ying Pun

During the rickshaw race, the runners are running along High Street next to the old Sai Ying Pun Community Complex before turning right onto Eastern Street and down the hill. Incidentally, another Van Damme film had a few scenes shot here several years before this one.

The Streetview shot gives us an angle from the centre of the road so although it doesn't quite match the film, at least it shows a bit more if the aforementioned Community Complex.

and a quick view looking down the hill from the same junction.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Various shots around town.

It seemed pointless to me to add a separate post for each of these seeing as they occupy so little time on screen. It's a little montage of around town shots, at the beginning of the film,  just to establish that we are in Hong Kong (and it's 1997). Starting with...

China Hong Kong City in Tsim Sha Tsui

A view across Central

Driving along Chater Road past HSBC

Along Connaught Road next to Admiralty Station

A view (also used again later in the film) across to Wanchai

The Lippo Centre

and finally a view across Kai Tak airport.

Actually, that last one is a cheat because it is seen well into the film and is a quick shot looking up Pedder Street (you can see the famous Pedder Building on the right with the archway) but I figured it was too small a shot for its own post.

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Gold Coast Piazza, Hong Kong Gold Coast Resort

A place that crops up several times throughout the film is the Gold Coast Piazza. It's fairly recognisable due to its columns, balustrades and window awnings. I would say it has had a bit of a makeover since 1997 though.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Lobster Bay, Sai Kung

Despite the finale of the boat chase occurring all the way down in Shek O, some of the scenes from the same sequence were filmed on the calmer waters of Port Shelter around Lobster Bay. The giveaway is the cluster of rocks and islets in the background that can be seen from the southern side of the Lobster Bay headland.

As luck would have it, I was in Lobster Bay not so long ago and managed to capture some snaps including the one below showing the same rocks.

Knock Off - Jean Claude Van Damme (1997) - Shek O, Hong Kong

Time for another film and this time the 1997 Tsui Hark effort starring non other than JCVD. To be honest, Tsui's style of film making makes it difficult to get decent screen captures because he likes his skewed camera angles and looping twisting crane shots that leave a lot of the screen a bit blurry when stopped. But never mind, I seem to have salvaged enough stills for a decent stab, including the initial sea-based scenes that were shot around the rocky headland at Shek O.

The view in the above two pictures is from the area where the rocky spit Tai Tau Chau joins onto the main part of Shek O, looking north. The view directly south can be seen below and shows the small bridge that connects the two bits of land.