Thursday, November 30, 2017

China Rose - George C. Scott (1983) - Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo, Macau

After leaving the embassy in canton, the pair walk down a small Chinese street busy with blue-suited citizens. Actually this road in Macau is not far from the St Paul ruins. It's called Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo and has several small lanes (called "Travessa" in Portuguese) leading from it.

MacGraw and Scott walk out of Calçada do Amparo, turn right and walk down Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo and pass Travessa do Fogão and Travessa da Dorna on their left. The street looks fairly similar even today although it has been tidied up a bit.

Calçada do Amparo
Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo
Travessa do Fogão on the right
Travessa da Dorna (also right)

The last screencap shows the section of the road where it widens and becomes Rua da Tercena. Interesting to see, although blurry, that the Macau street signs used to have the Chinese name on the right. These days the signs have the Chinese written above the Portuguese. Here's a long shot I missed from the original post.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

China Rose - George C. Scott (1983) - Monte Fort, Macau

Speaking of Monte Fort, the US Embassy in Canton is portrayed by the rather fine Portuguese colonial building inside the Fort walls. The building is still around and now forms the museum, however, in one of the Macau Govt's less inspired moments of heritage preservation, this whole facade was remodeled. The windows were kept but the rather nice footbridge was removed and the detail from the window frames looks to have been removed. It's a big shame because the building looks too modern now.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

China Rose - George C. Scott (1983) - Carminho dos Artilheiros, Macau

Almost a new month upon us so here is a new film to look at courtesy of my good friend AP. I had no idea this film, China Rose, existed until he mentioned it to me and was kind enough to send me his copy for the benefit of the blog. So a big thanks to AP once again.

It turns out that the year before Michael Biehn (pronounced like "bean" in case you ever wondered) was to be forever associated with Kyle Reese, he was hot-footing it around Hong Kong trying to avoid being found by a bunch of triads. His dad, played by George C. Scott, enlists the help of a guide (Ali MacGraw) to help him track down his long lost son and much intrigue ensues.

Actually, it's not a bad film if you can stand the sight of George and Ali having a smooch at the end (I got a little bit of sick in my mouth as I was recalling the scene just then). There are some great places to see in Hong Kong and Macau including some new angles on old places.

The film supposedly starts off in Guangzhou (Canton) but as with most films of a certain era, Macau had to stand in for the Mainland. One of the first places to spot is the walls of Monte Fort in Macau.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Art of War - Wesley Snipes (2000) - Central, Hong Kong

In a long list of films supposedly "made in Hong Kong but weren't", I offer Wesley Snipes' 2000 The Art of War

There is an opening sequence whereby Wesley establishes his credentials as a no-nonsense Bond-esque UN agent by blackmailing a North Korean military figure into revealing details of some shady deal before jumping off a building using a parachute. The whole thing is supposed to be set in HK on some unknown New Year's Eve celebration, but it appears that in fact some stock footage of the HK skyline was used with some superimposed fireworks.

On closer inspection, it's fairly obvious (to me at least) that the building in question (with the dragon lights below) is also superimposed. Perhaps it's a real building somewhere in LA, but definitely does not exist here. A fact made more obvious by the way the background seems to shift angle from looking towards Central from the west (top two pictures) to then looking, apparently, from the east - given the way the Bank of China building appears to have shifted around.

 Anyway, you heard it here first...this film was definitely not made in HK.

Battleship - Taylor Kitsch (2012) - Central, Hong Kong

The final post from this very quick snippet of Hong Kong is an overhead shot of Central as it burns from the crashed spaceship. The buildings on fire include the two towers of the Lippo Centre, the gold-glassed Far East Finance Centre and the new Govt HQ on the left.

Battleship - Taylor Kitsch (2012) - Bank of China Building, Central

Unfortunately for the poor people working in the BOC building, they are right in the path of the oncoming spaceship and are duly incinerated when the ship cuts the top third of the building off and sends it crashing to the street below. I seem to remember the building was in for a bit of wear and tear when the Transformers came to town a few years later.

 The remains of the ship then crash into the harbour next to the Convention Centre.

Battleship - Taylor Kitsch (2012) - Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

As the spaceship crashes into Hong Kong it hits the radio masts at the top of Victoria Peak. This time the Buddha is noticeably missing - a bit of a continuity balls up seeing as it was supposedly right behind Victoria Peak in the earlier shot. Anyway, after crashing on the top of the mountain it then heads straight towards Central to cause a bit more damage.

The collection of houses in the bottom of the top picture is a development called Overthorpe. If you fancy putting yourself in the firing line of a crashed spaceship and buying one of these houses, the last one sold back in 2007 for $88M. That was before prices started getting REALLY stupid.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon - Sonny Chiba (1977) - Lee Garden, Fanling

Here's a quick post from Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon that I had a bit of trouble trying to identify. The problem was that it was inserted directly before the Bethanie sequence giving the impression that it was in or nearby the Bethanie grounds. By pure coincidence I saw a snippet of an old Cantonese movie and saw the same place and it turns out that it was located in On Lok Village in Fanling. This is the same village that once had the Fanling Babies Home.

The village still exists - it's located quite close to  Fanling East Rail station - but the section containing all the large European-style villas was turned in to a factory estate. I'm not sure how many villas were demolished but just one or two would have been a sad sight to see. The villagers at the time agreed and about 200 of them staged a massive protest to try and prevent the demolition. Sadly it was in vain, although apparently the protest took a serious turn when tear gas was fired and around 20 or so people were arrested. Anyway, its beauty meant it was popular with film and TV companies as a filming location. The only thing I can't find is the exact location of this place and how it relates to the modern layout of the estate.

Battleship - Taylor Kitsch (2012) - Tian Tan Buddha, Lantau...or not?

As the crashed spaceship heads into Earth's atmosphere it plummets towards Hong Kong and, on the way, passes the famous big Buddha on Lantau Island. The thing is the film makers decided that this shot would only work if they superimposed the Buddha on to Hong Kong Island instead. So, what we end up with is a composite of both places giving the impression that the Buddha towers over Victoria Peak and the Harbour when in reality it's located about 25 kilometres away to the west.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Battleship - Taylor Kitsch (2012) - Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

A bit of a weird entry I must admit, and I am still trying to fathom why Hong Kong even features on this film at all given that most of the action is set in and around the Hawaiian island chain. The film is basically about aliens invading Earth after responding to a deep space message from the human race. The HK connection arises from their journey to Earth when one of their ships hits a satellite and breaks apart with a massive chunk flying in and hitting Hong Kong.I can only think the film was aiming to have some appeal to Chinese audiences and destroying a city on the Mainland (such as Beijing or Shanghai) would probably have not made it past Chinese censors...but I'm just guessing.

Anyway, we start with a couple of establishing shots filmed around the harbour area. First a view of the Wanchai waterfront with the Convention Centre on the left. The second angle (third image) was taken mush further to the west with one of the Shun Tak Centre towers in view.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - HMS Tamar, Central

Okay, I'm being a bit cheeky by referring to this place by its former Colonial name. HMS Tamar was the naval base located at the Central harbourfront. These days though it is known as Central Barracks.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - Tsing Yi, New Territories

There's a helicopter sequence that starts off flying over the Ma Wan Channel with Tsing Yi Island at the bottom and the unmistakable shape of the Tsing Ma Bridge below.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - Wing Lok Street, Central

Well, okay, not quite Wing Lok Street but basically the open space that sits between Cosco Tower and Grand Millennium Plaza.

The cafe where Chan is served by Edison Chen and Nicholas Tse looks as though it is the place at the bottom of Grand Millennium Plaza, but I'm not 100% sure. It seems to make sense though given the location of the opening shot.

Heisser Hafen Hongkong - Horst Frank (1962) - Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui

Here's another find by the master of obscure places, Thomas. I had been asking about this funny looking road and Thomas came back to me with Kimberley Street as the likely culprit. On further investigation it turns out he was spot on again. This is pretty good going seeing as this film is 55 years old (as of 2017).

On the left, just before the kink in the road are some rather interesting window shades that have tapered uprights running up the side of the window opening. Some of these still exist today on a 1953-constructed building marked as #22. Although the main portion of this block was demolished, and now the Kimberley Hotel occupies the space, number 22 is a partial remnant of this once larger block and still has the distinct tapered window shades. If you look beyond the road there is a large white building that I believe is South Sea Mansions. It's still around and was built the same year this film was made, so I'm wondering if I can still detect some scaffolding on the exterior?

Anyway, once again a big thanks to Thomas.

If anyone has any memories of "Lily's Garden" or any other bar around there, feel free to leave a comment.

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - Kam Sheung Road, Pat Heung

There is a scene, an establishing shot, that is intended to make us think the Kwun Yam Temple is far out in the sticks. Well, we already know it is actually slap bang in the middle of Hung Hom, but this particular stretch of road can be identified by the village "pai lau" at the side of the road. It says - reading right to left - Yuen Kong Tsuen (Yuen Kong Village) and is located in the Pat Heung area of Yuen Long district. Why was this place filmed at as opposed to any other? I haven't got the foggiest idea.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - Station Lane, Hung Hom

The temple where the police/Interpol raid takes place is a Kwun Yam Temple in Hung Hom, on Station Lane to be precise. The film makers managed to get the street so clean that it almost looks like a film set. The pawnshop sign is a real one, but is looking a bit worse for wear these days.

I have to say that this raid scene is one of the most annoying ever made as Lee Evans' character essentially goes through the same gag about 5 times, each time less amusing than the previous one. So whoever wrote that part of the script should be taken out and shot.

The actor who plays the female undercover cop is Diana Weng, who is probably more famous for her role on multiple JC films as his English dialogue coach!

Diana Weng

The later scenes, when the bad guys make their escape, were filmed in the alleyway at the back of the temple, and the shot of the car coming out onto the road was around the corner, on Gillies Avenue South, next to what was the old Hung Hom Govt School campus (pink building, bottom photo) which was since taken over by Kowloon Junior School and looks to be currently occupied by the French International School.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Medallion - Jackie Chan (2003) - Fa Yuen Street, Mongkok

I found this one a bit too late to go into the original Soy Street post, but actually, the area of Fa Yuen Street where the police truck pulls out into the road is just a little way down from the junction with Soy Street.