Things we’ve learned about Hong Kong from the movies
Let’s start with an obvious one. The foreigner can be a dastardly British colonial official, a vile officer of the Imperial Japanese Army, or a ruthless American tycoon but, basically, they’re always up to no good.
Triads are a clever bunch. Ensuring their turf wars never spill out on to the streets, where it would be more expensive to film, their fights frequently take place in dai pai dongs or cha chaan tengs where chairs, bottles and cleavers are all close to hand.
This test states that a work of fiction should feature at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Given the prevalence of female roles centred around landing a man and getting married, our ladies are often poorly served by local movies.
Of course, when triads or other criminals tire of playing with sharp objects, they can rest easy knowing that heavy weaponry is never far away. Okay, Yip Kai-foon really did commit a series of robberies armed with assault rifles in the 1980s, but gun ownership is in fact tightly controlled. Not that you’d know from our movies...
See picture. We blame Stephen Chow.
Thankfully, since 1997 all crime has been eliminated in Hong Kong. These days, if there’s a violent and/or corrupt movie (like SPL, pictured) it must take place before the handover when everything was so much worse in the city. Even if everything looks the same as our contemporary decade, just pretend.
Forget the officers you see on the streets of Mong Kok who look like a stiff breeze might knock them over, our city’s cinematic cops are all trigger happy hot heads whose shoot outs are likely to demolish entire buildings.
No one is quite sure how they do it, but Hongkongers seem to possess the ability to enact metaphysical change in the numerical makeup of mahjong tiles or playing cards.
Government statistics about there being over 300,000 domestic helpers is clearly fake news as we almost never see these individuals represented in Hong Kong movies.
Remember that time you decided to take a taxi on a Friday afternoon via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel? Neither do the movies.