Cover Here are some Hollywood films set in Hong Kong to watch (Photo: Imdb.com)

From Doctor Strange to Contagion, here are some Hollywood movies that are set in our home—Hong Kong

With international travel still off the cards, we’re spending our days stuck in Hong Kong. But that doesn’t have to be boring—we have plenty of islands, events, beaches, hotels, hiking spots to visit. Even Hollywood directors and producers can't resist the charm of our city. From the bustling streets, stunning skyline and harbour views to the unique visuals that we can truly call Hong Kong.

If you’ve already gone on a pilgrimage to see film locations in Hong Kong, why not watch movies set in Hong Kong and appreciate our city even more? Here, we list down some movies that were filmed, set or by Hong Kong that you should put on your watch (or re-watch) list—if you haven’t already.

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1 / 10

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong is the most recent film to be set in Hong Kong. It serves as the third movie in the “Monster Verse” and sees the clash between the two reigning titans, Godzilla and Kong.

In the movie, Godzilla and Kong’s last fight happened in Hong Kong, amidst the skyscrapers. The film was a boss office success and received praises for its visual effects and action sequences.

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2 / 10

Skyscraper

Hong Kong is known for its staggering skyscrapers so it’s no surprise that the movie, Skyscraper is set in Hong Kong. The action movie stars Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer, a private security consultant who is reviewing the security of The Pearl, the world’s tallest skyscraper located in Hong Kong. But soon, the building is taken over by terrorists.

The movie received praise for Dwayne’s performance as well as its suspenseful and exciting sequences. While there's no 225-storey building in Hong Kong yet, we're not closing our doors for the possibility.

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3 / 10

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

The original and critically-acclaimed Ghost in the Shell animated movie was set in Hong Kong so it only feels right that the live-action adaptation stays true to the source material as the casting didn’t. Hong Kong is a popular choice for directors going for the “cyberpunk” aesthetics alongside other metropolises such as Tokyo or Seoul.

The movie is set in the near future when the line between humans and robots is blurring. Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the sole survivor of a cyber-terrorist attack, resulting in her body being severely damaged so he receives an artificial body instead.

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4 / 10

Contagion

Contagion received renewed interest last year due to the pandemic and how closely the movie mirrors the current reality. The movie follows the spread of a virus which was transmitted through respiratory droplets—very much like Covid-19.

Medical researchers and public health officials race towards the clock to identify and contain the disease as well as to find a vaccine. As the disease is happening globally, other locations are also featured in the movie other than Hong Kong. Notable scenes in Hong Kong were shot at the Star Ferry, Mei King Street and Tsuen Wan.

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5 / 10

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth movie in the Transformers franchise was set in Hong Kong. The movie received media attention during its filming as director Michael Bay was assaulted by two men who also extorted money from him. Taking place over various locations, you can see Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and New Territories making an appearance.

The movie takes place five years after the previous movie and the public are starting to see the Transformers as an enemy rather than friends. While the public believes that the Autobots were granted sanctuary, the truth is that they were being handed down, causing them to remain in hiding. But a new threat, Galvation plans to conquer the world with his newfound power–starting with Hong Kong.

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6 / 10

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim is another science fiction and monster film that’s set in Hong Kong. The Guillermo del Toro-directed movie is supposedly the first movie in the Pacific Rim franchise. But considering the poor performance of its sequel (which del Toro didn’t direct), the future of the franchise is unclear.

The movie is set in the future when the world is at war with the Kaiju, colossal monsters that emerged an interdimensional portal. In order to save humanity, the Jaegers—giant robots, piloted by two people—were created to combat the monsters. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a former pilot forced to come back from retirement teams up with the rookie pilot, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) in order to end the Kaijus once and for all.

The movie didn’t actually film in Hong Kong but instead, recreated the city in a film studio. You can still spot iconic buildings across the movie so best to say that the recreation stayed true.

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7 / 10

Push

Push which stars Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning takes place in Hong Kong, with Evan’s character living in the city as an expat. From dry markets, hotel rooms, crowded streets, Push went for details rather than the usual skyscrapers.

The movie revolves around people who possess superhuman abilities that are being hunted down by the government to be used as their own weapons. Hong Kong becomes a refuge for those with superpowers known by their respective abilities Movers, Pushers, Bleeders, Wipers, Shadows and more.

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8 / 10

Blackhat

Blackhat follows Chris Hemsworth as Nicholas Hathaway, a convicted computer hacker turned hero who’s hoping to hunt down notorious cybercrime networks including one in Hong Kong. Actress Teng Wei also stars in the movie.

While the movie didn’t do well in the box office or receive praise from critics, it did make use of its Hong Kong setting well. Quarry Bay MTR, Shek O and Connaught Road are among the most recognisable locations in the movie.

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9 / 10

I Come With the Rain

If you haven’t heard of this movie, we won’t blame you. Vietnamese French director, Tran Ahn Hung helmed the movie a year before Norweigian Wood, which gained more attention. I Come With the Rain sees the team-up of a number of notable stars in Asia including Lee Byung-hin and Takuya Kimura and Shawn Yue.

The neo-noir movie follows an ex-Los Angeles cop turned private director (Josh Hartnett) who travels to Hong Kong to look for the missing son of a billionaire. The movie wasn’t a box office hit but it premiered at several film festivals including the Busan International Film Festival.

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10 / 10

Doctor Strange

The Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to Hong Kong, thanks to Doctor Strange. The final battle scene takes place in the city, which is actually the case with a lot of the movies on this list. While none of the filmings took place on location, the production also recreated the set to look like a regular Hong Kong street. The Hong Kong sanctum is also based on the Lui Seng Chun building.

Doctor Strange is the origin story of the eponymous character—a once-renowned surgeon now learning the mystical teachings of the Ancient One in order to save the world from dark forces.

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