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Chinatown Decoded: Are Those DVDs Bootlegs?

The wonderful word of Hong Kong cinema.


Editor's Note: This is one of many stories about the Chinese-American city that San Francisco is publishing over the next month, all part of the April 2015 Chinese Issue. To peruse the rest of the issue's contents, and to read stories as they become available online, click here.  

In fact, there is a whole universe of Hong Kong cinema for Cantonese and Mandarin speakers on sale in Chinatown—and much is subbed or dubbed in English. We asked the store managers at Asiastar Fantasy and Fortune Star Trading to recommend their top sellers.

MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK 2 (2006) In this battle of the sexes, four couples seek to save their marriages through sexcapades called “fool-around missions.” Gigolos, illicit tapes, antics, and men in black ensue.

LOVE IN TIME (2012) In a case of forbidden love, ice cream–truck driver Cho falls for his distant cousin and new roommate, Tina.

FUTURE X-COPS (2010) In this kung fu flick, a cop travels back in time from the year 2080 to foil a team of cyborg assassins who’ve been hired by futuristic oil tycoons to murder the “Father of Solar Energy.”

FLIRTING IN THE AIR (2014) When airplane pilot Captain Cool flies through a thunderstorm, a wormhole transports him, his copilots, and his crew of sexy stewardesses back to the Ming dynasty.

RED TROUSERS: THE LIFE OF THE HONG KONG STUNTMEN (2003) Following some of the world’s greatest stuntmen (including Mortal Kombat star Robin Shou), this documentary explores the high-stakes profession of film daredevils.

Chinatown Decoded:
What Language Is Everyone Speaking?
Is That Volleyball?
Why Do Some Buildings Fly the Mainland’s Flag While Others Fly Taiwan’s?
Why Is Everyone Pushing Me?
Why Is That Art Gallery Under a Dry Cleaner's?
How Can You Tell If an Erhu Player Is Any Good?
Is the 30 Really the Worst Bus in Town?
How Could This Possibly Be Legal?
What's Going on Under That Lion Head?
What Are You Doing to My Body?
Is the Architecture East or West?
Are Those DVDs Bootlegs?
What Happens During a Chinatown Funeral?


Originally published in the April issue of San Francisco

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