China is one of the two world’s most populated countries. So, it comes as a real wonder how its market often gets neglected in so many domains. When we’re talking about filmmaking, no one will have China as its first association. This place is always reserved for Hollywood, Bollywood, and even some European productions. We’re here to make a few wrongs into one right. China, and Hong Kong in particular deserve their place on the filmmaking map. In this article we’re not going to talk about particular films, but more of famous filming locations in The Red Dragon Country.
As you probably remember, the names that have put China on the movie map are without a doubt, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Both have made more than a few cult movies whose value is appreciated to this day. However, we’re not here to talk today about their charm, talent, and martial arts prowess. Instead, we’re going to focus on Hong Kong action movies, some of the best can be found if you check this site, and famous filming locations of Chinese action movies. Brace yourself, as we’re about to visit some mesmerizing locations.
1. The Great Wall of China
Well, no one could have skipped on this one. It is one of the world’s biggest monuments and one that has stood against the Mongol hordes and centuries that have passed since. Today, it doesn’t serve as a military stronghold. Instead, it is one of the premium tourist attractions in China. Some claim that it can be seen from space, but we have our reservations about this claim. As far as filmmaking goes, The Great Wall of China is also quite an attraction. It is a location that attracts both local and international directors. One of the latest examples of movies filmed here is The Great Wall which can be seen as a Hollywood production. But, we must say that it was shot entirely in China and that the director behind this masterpiece is none other than Zhang Yimou.
Here is another Chinese wonder of architecture, but this time around we’re talking about an artificial one. If you’re looking for a parallel, seek no further than Universal Studios in Hollywood. Hengdian is the Chinese answer to the American megalomania culture. They did a good job of replicating the Hollywood success. Today, the majority of China’s movie industry goes through this studio. It’s no wonder that things are like this considering that this studio is built on 2324 hectares of land. Because of its versatility, it is home to many of the best Chinese movies of all time. Some of the best examples include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which was extensively filmed in this location. Another good example is the collaboration between Jackie Chan and Jet Li in The Forbidden Kingdom. So, the next time you see a Chinese film and you can’t recognize the location, assume it was filmed in Hengdian.
3. Forbidden City
China is a mysterious country. The biggest proof you’ll ever need is the Forbidden City. While China is one of the most developed and modern countries in the world, it has never parted ways with its tradition. The Forbidden City is a monument located in the center of the capital Beijing. As such it has been an inspiration for generations of Chinese. For those who became well-versed in movies it has become more than inspiration – it has turned into a set. Of course, when filming in the forbidden city the utmost care is necessary. Built in 1406 it is a monument protected by both UNESCO and the Chinese government. As such, we are required to feel blessed that motion pictures such as The Last Emperor and Hero were filmed here.
In the same way, you’ll see Los Angeles or New York City in plenty of Hollywood action films, you’ll see Beijing featured in Chinese productions. The city is not only home to some of the most ancient buildings in China and historical monuments. In addition, it is also a modern hub, with plenty of traffic, skyscrapers, expensive cars, and city landscapes like no other. Beijing like no other place in China can capture the essence of modern Chinese society. This is why the streets of some of the most popular Chinese films of all time occur on the streets of this city. The finest examples you’ll find include the movie franchise that made Jackie Chan a worldwide phenomenon titled Police Story.
China does have it all. In addition to ancient buildings and modern skyscrapers, it can also tell a story or two about its natural resources. The best example of this is the city of Suzhou. This place is famed for its beautiful gardens, water canals, and architecture towering above it all. Once on the spot, you will not believe your eyes. The number of pavilions seems limitless while ponds, bridges, rockeries, and millions of flowers that intermingle with streams create a fairy-tale atmosphere. It is like the ancient city of Venice with just that spoon of oriental magic. It is a place you haven’t seen before we’re sure, and afterward, you’ll not see a similar one. It is no wonder it has been serving as an inspiration to directors for a few decades now. Some of the biggest titles filmed in this location include The Spring River Flows East, Suzhou River, Lust, Caution, and The Knot.
Chinese and Hong Kong directors are experts in making action movies. While some of the films we listed do not fit the genre entirely, they fit the bill due to their exquisite location. The five places we’ve listed are the cream of the crop of Chinese cinematography. If you ever have the opportunity to visit either of these places soon enough you’ll start noticing them not only in Chinese production movies but in Hollywood too. No one remains immune to the charms of China’s unique filming locations. The list would go on and on, but for now, we’ll leave you at this cliffhanger.