Continuing on from the last post.
One of my favourite Martial Arts movies was partly filmed in Bangkok. 1989s Kickboxer star Jean Claude Van Damme (JCVD) as Kurt Sloane. The action begins with Jean Claude in Bangkok to act as the cornerman for his brother Eric (played by former World Kickboxing Champion Dennis Alexio) upcoming fight against Thailand’s undefeated champion Tong Po.
Eric is beaten savagely and ends up paralysed so his brother Kurt starts on the road to revenge culminating in a final showdown with Tong Po.
Tong Po is played by Michel Qissi, who would also fight on screen with JCVD in Bloodsport and Lionheart. His brother Abdel was the main opponent in The Quest and Lionheart.
Filming was done mostly in Thailand with 56 days devoted to scenes shot in Bangkok in locations such as:
Sanam Luang – an open park in front of the Grand Palace is shown at the start of the movie for the sparring scene between Jean-Claude and Dennis Alexio. (This is the park we walked through to reach the Grand Palace).
The next scenes show Jean-Claude seeking solace by visiting the Temple of the Reclining Buddha – Wat Pho
The famous training montage was filmed in Ayutthaya City – a ruined temple complex to the north of Bangkok.
This was not the last movie that Jean Claude shot in Bangkok – he spent 3 weeks in 1994 shooting scenes for the big screen adaptation of Capcom’s Street Fighter game. Bangkok was to stand in for the fictional Shadaloo – the home of M. Bison and Sagat.
Another Street Fighter movie would return to film in the streets of Bangkok in 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li – this time playing itself as Bangkok.
Chinatown (Yaowarat Road) in Bangkok was the main setting for 2011s The Hangover Part II – with the wolfpack teaming up again to tear the place up. 2013’s Only God Forgives – starring Ryan Gosling also had some scenes shot in Chinatown.
Good Morning Vietnam??
Bangkok in particular (and Thailand in general) is used as a substitute location for many movies based on events in other Asian countries – particualrly Vietnam. Part of this is a political move and the other is probably due to incentives offered to base productions there. Another Blog – Almost Ginger has a good run down of these here.
An establishing shot is a shot in filmmaking or television that sets up the context for the scene ahead, designed to inform the audience where the action will be taking place. It shows the relationship between people and objects, and establishes the scene’s geography.
Bangkok’s most famous street is used by many movie makers as an establishing shot or series of shots – the Khao San Road. This includes Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak, the opening scenes of Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach.
A good portion of Ong Bak was filmed in Bangkok – including this amazing chase scene…