Tomb Raider - Cradle of Life

| | Comments (2)

It's a great old tradition of adventure movies to make stupid mistakes in the portrayal of Hong Kong on the silver screen. Classics include "The Man With The Golden Gun", where Bond has an altercation outside a club in Kowloon, is driven to Queen's Pier in Central (Hong Kong side) before the cross harbour tunnel was open, then hops in a boat back to Kowloon.

I watched Tomb Raider - Cradle of Life last night. It wasn't as bad as I expected. Although, since I expected it to be significantly worse than watching paint dry, I suppose that's not much of a boost. Anyway, here's what they got wrong about Hong Kong:

  • Chai Wan Private Airport - and the picture showed the plane landing just in front of the Bank of China Tower, which you can't even see from Chai Wai. Both of my children were born in the Pamela Youde Nethersole hospital in Chai Wan, I know what you can see from there and what you can't. It's around the eastern coast of Hong Kong Island.
  • Times Square - Yep, they are in Times Square, Causeway Bay -it's got those transparent elevators and those balconies. The one thing it hasn't got is Two IFC directly overhead. (, An article about it by the owners.) The Times Square building is a few miles away from Two IFC, which is in Central, not Causeway Bay.
  • Gliding - shortly after apparently going a few miles horizontally in an elevator, then 88 stories vertically, Lara and Terry don gliding suits and leap from the top. Lara says that they have to glide about 2.5 miles to get to their ship. Instead, they go to a ship in the middle of the harbour, not more than a kilometre away. Still, nice action sequence.
  • Aberdeen - After they split up, Lara turns up on a fishing boat in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. It's very obvious that it's Aberdeen as there are several very distinctive landmarks and of course there's the fleets of fishing boats which you will find there. A fishing family living on a junk? That's quite likely, although they might not have the large plasma TV Lara uses. Then again they might, they're saving on rent by living in a junk, after all. What's really implausible about this scene is that Lara speaks to them in Mandarin. They're rather unlikely to speak Mandarin, being fishermen. Although there's a chance the little girl might be learning it in school. Cantonese would be their language. Also, I really don't think we have Spongebob Squarepants in Mandarin on TV here, just in English or Cantonese.

That last is a really strange mistake to make - presumably Spongebob in Cantonese would just be as foreign for an American audience as having it in Mandarin would be, and I guess that the actors could learn enough Cantonese to ask some simple questions. Also, in the other Hong Kong sequences, there are no crowd noises beyond an occasional shout. Very strange. Any crowd of people in Hong Kong is a noisy affair, with people talking all the time. It's as if the film-makers wanted to have no Cantonese at all in the movie.


Marcus said:

hehe... Interesting comments. I'm watching the movie now, and I don't recall there being a private airport in chai wan. I grew up in Hong Kong so I thought I'd at least heard of such a thing. But then again, my parents were billionaires, so I wouldn't have any reason to know about a private airport.
Nice deductions by the way.

dave said:

No, there's no airport in Chai Wan - it's wither mountains or sea you get there. The hospital where my kids were born is perched on the side of a mountain.

I guess a real hotshot pilot could get a helicopter or a harrier jump jet down, but not a Lear jet!

About Me


  • Unsolicited Bulk Email (spam), commercial solicitations, SEO related items, link exchange requests, and abuse are not welcome here and will result in complaints to your ISP.
  • Any email to the above address may be made public at the sole discretion of the recipient.

Other Stuff

  • Powered by Linux
  • (RedHat Linux)


Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by dave published on September 14, 2003 5:58 PM.

Ride On was the previous entry in this blog.

Deception is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.