Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Hac Sa Beach, Macau

Much of the latter part of the film was shot in Macau, but we go there a bit earlier than announced for a scene where Richard Harrison, playing the suave womanizing part of the partnership, is picked up on a beach by an enemy spy - wearing a red bikini...

The beach in question is Hac Sa beach on Coloane island - the southern most part of Macau. We been to Coloane previously on this blog (e.g the opening section of Largo Winch) but not to Hac Sa beach as far as I am aware.

In 1980, the Grand Coloane Resort (formerly the Westin Resort Macau - once managed by Starwood, it is now managed by the Harilela Group) had yet to be built, as had the row of houses along the southern headland of the bay giving the beach a much more unspoilt and rugged look. Actually, if you look at the second picture you can see some excavation going on at the cliff side in the background - it looks like the formation work for the resort was underway by 1980.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - The Peak, Hong Kong

I can almost guarantee that anyone who has visited HK has at least been up to Victoria Peak and visited the Lions Club pavilion. We've seen it a few times here on this blog, most memorably from when JCVD was up here doing some moves in Bloodsport.

Brad Harris killing someone with his lethal bicep

And here is the view down to the harbour in 1980. Actually, there is a good comparison between the top shot below and a similar angle in the earlier Bloodsport link that shows just what buildings were constructed in the years between both films.

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan

Man Mo temple appears in the sequence showing the bad guys going about doing their business.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Central Walkway, Connaught Place

A quick shot of Brad Harris surveying the area around Jardine House from the vantage point of the walkway that crosses Connaught Place. The bit of water that looks like the harbourside (or at least it did to me initially) is one of the ornamental pools next to Jardine House.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Oxford Road, Kowloon Tsai

No sooner have the dynamic duo been picked up at the airport and their enemies are onto them already and try to attack them in Kowloon Tong. It's Kowloon Tsai - the area of Kowloon Tong on eastern side of Waterloo Road. The car pulls out of Durham Road and turns left onto Oxford road where it is stopped by the baddies. All hell breaks loose as ol' Bruce does his stuff and dispatches them in true fake Bruce Lee style.

Oxford Road with Durham Road on the right 
Oxford Road looking north 
In the background is the Kowloon Tsai electricity substation

The last two pictures show #16 Durham Road which sits on the corner with Oxford Road with odd windows along its external walls (they're still there) and red gates, and the lower picture shows the house next door which is #28 Oxford Road - since redeveloped into a modern house.

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Kai Tak International Airport, Kowloon

Although the first part of the film is filmed in what appears to be Spain (don't know where though, sorry), it soon moves back to home territory as the CIA agents chase the thief of a secret formula. Cue the required shots of plane landing and then the pair getting met outside Kai Tak.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Challenge of the Tiger - Bruce Le (1980) - Shangri-La Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui

Moving on to the next film we have Challenge of the Tiger. Although supposedly an international production the quality is very much stuck in the naff semi-exploitative kung fu film genre of the 70's. Its redeeming features are the various locations and the appearance of our old friend Brad Harris as a bad guy called "Leopard" and Jon Benn in a quick uncredited cameo as a CIA honcho.

The movie starts with the main character, played by Bruce Le (he also wrote and directed the film), fending off a bunch of bad guys outside the Shangri-La Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Given the number of triad attacks that go on around here the place is quite used to seeing some violence, real and otherwise.

Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel
Looking right along Mody Road, the bridge is still there 
Looking left, Mirror Tower on Right. 
Chatham Rd buildings in the background

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Largo Winch 2: The Burma Conspiracy - Tomer Sisley (2011) - Central, Hong Kong

If you've read my Largo Winch posts, you'll know the Winch HQ building is completely fake and just been stuck in there during post-production. In the first film they even neglected to do that in a couple of scenes.

In this film they CGI guys seem to be a bit unsure about where to actually put the building. In the original one it did a little bit of moving around as you can see from this post, going from next to the PLA barracks to further towards the Convention Centre. In this sequel it also moves. The first shot shows us looking at the top of the building with the Bank of China behind it to the left and the IFC2 building over at the right.

But in the following shot it has moved all the way up to be right next to Jardine House, meaning the Bank of China couldn't possibly be behind it in the top picture.

Argh! Never mind, it's just the pedant in me coming out. Go watch the film because it's pretty good.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Largo Winch 2: The Burma Conspiracy - Tomer Sisley (2011) - Queensway, Central

Another quickie with a couple of limited HK locations - but included here more for completeness because I did a fair amount of location finding for its predecessor, Largo Winch. Once again thanks for the heads up from AP who seems to have a knack for finding HK based stuff I have missed. The film is set after the original (obviously) but has a fair amount of back story that was supposedly happening before the events of the first film. Hong Kong is only really included in a couple of shots because it is supposedly the location of the Winch company HQ.

The opening scene is a shot of a car driving along Queensway in Central. You can see the walkway between Pacific Place and Queensway Plaza in the background.

And then there are a couple of blurry shots of the same stretch of road but on the opposite lane and a little further to the west between the above mentioned walkway and the next footbridge that connects to the Lippo Centre.

Monday, 22 January 2018

This Time I'll Make You Rich - Brad Harris (1974) - North Point, Hong Kong

The opening and closing titles have a helicoptered shot of what looks to be a part of Hong Kong island's northern coastline panning from left to right (east to west). However, after reviewing it I was scratching my head trying to pace all the buildings. The only clue I had was the initial picture that featured what appeared to be the twin chimneys of the old North Point Power Station. Here is the sequence as it appears on film. You can see the smoking chimneys in the very top picture.

It wasn't until the last couple of frames though that the clue to the sequence pops up. The large block in the bottom of the last picture is one of the blocks in the now demolished North Point Estate. The estate was in fact to the east of the power station, so, what we have at the end of this film is a bit that has been spliced in back to front. The film negative has obviously been flipped when it was all edited together (we've seen the same phenomenon several times on the blog leading me to think it is ignorance of HK geography as the main cause). So, I flipped all the grabs and now if the film had been run properly, the sequence would pan from west to east (right to left).

So, now that balance has once again been restored to the universe, we can say goodbye to this film and move onto the next...

Sunday, 21 January 2018

This Time I'll Make You Rich - Brad Harris (1974) - Port Shelter, Sai Kung

The next location is Port Shelter in Sai Kung. The cash hungry duo agree to take a briefcase out on a boat without realising that inside is a bomb intended to blow them up. The first picture shows their boat heading out from Hebe Haven area into Port Shelter. The island on the left is Shelter Island with the Clearwater Bay peninsula in the far distance.

The reverse angle, over Harris' head, shows the familiar ridgeline above Sai Kung with Pyramid Hill forming the left most point. The pursuing police launch gives up the chase after the explosion and stops at what appears to be the southern end of Sharp island.

Buffalo Hill ridgeline at the back

This Time I'll Make You Rich - Brad Harris (1974) - Kellet Island, Causeway Bay

This was one of those films that was proving difficult to get hold of until I was pointed in the direction of Youtube. It's a Shaw's/Italian co-production (original title is: Questa volta ti faccio ricco!) and was made the same year as Shatter, so Shaws were fairly busy with international co-productions that year.  In fact, if you are a really keen Shaws fan, you may remember one of the scenes in the 1975 BBC Shaws documentary Fists of Fire. It captured some behind-the-scenes footage of a fight in a gymnasium shot for this film.

Brad Harris is one of the two main protagonists (the other being Antonio Sabato), although for some bizarre reason he is given the stage name "Robin McDavid". Regular readers may remember Harris' name from a  couple of German productions I looked at last year: Weiße Fracht für Hongkong and Heisser Hafen Hongkong.

Harris was one of the early 60's bodybuilding stars who made his name in toga films - similar to Steve Reeves - and went on to act (and stunt - he is a Stunt Hall of Fame inductee) for a plethora of films in various countries: German productions in the 60s, Italian productions in the 70s, and he was even in Challenge of the Tiger - a Bruce Le film released in 1980. Sadly, he just passed away in November 2017 at the sprightly age of 84. RIP Brad Harris.

Although pitched as made in Hong Kong, after watching the film it's quite apparent that the majority of exterior shots were actually filmed in Taipei in Taiwan. The HK-based locations, as we will see, were limited to just a couple of places, excluding the gym fight filmed at the Shaw studios.

The main location, seen throughout the film, is the beach area next to the Hong Kong Yacht Club on Kellet Island. Look at the right of the top picture and you can see a concrete structure that I believe is a vent for the Cross harbour tunnel. You also get a decent view of the typhoon shelter and the buildings of North Point at the back, as well as the concrete breakwater and yacht club clubhouse.

Look closely at the lower picture and you might just be able to make out the chimney of North Point power station. There is also the odd view south towards the Excelsior hotel. It's easily identifiable in these shots despite the slightly poor picture quality.