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5 TV and Movie Scenes That You Probably Didn’t Know Were Filmed in Chinatown

As a neighborhood of a thousand faces, Chinatown has seen some pretty strange things, including being used as a backdrop for these scenes in film and television.


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Frank Sinatra chinatown
Frank Sinatra in Magnum P.I. 
Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

The taxi pulls up illegally on Hotel Street and a guy in a gray raincoat gets out and steps into Nextdoor. It’s Frank Sinatra and he’s looking for trouble. He punches a woman, chases a guy up on a rooftop and corners him, pistol in hand. The guy falls off the roof.

 

Of course, this was 30 years ago, 1987, and Frank Sinatra was playing a retired cop on an episode of Magnum P.I. Although set on O‘ahu, the scene turned Chinatown’s neon glory into a stand-in for the show’s fictional seedy neighborhood of … Little Saigon? Go figure.

 

A few blocks away, the stone façades and Renaissance Revival look of Merchant Street double for modern-day Berlin in a fourth season episode of Lost. Honolulu streets with German traffic signs and ice-covered sidewalks? Who won the war, again?

 

Lost season 4

Merchant Street turned into modern-day Berlin for a fourth season episode of Lost.

 

Meanwhile, at O’Toole’s Irish Pub, when the titular leading men of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates meet two prospects to take to their sister’s wedding, one of the girls (Aubrey Plaza) throws herself onto a moving car outside the bar on Nu‘uanu Avenue. Come on, Zac Efron’s not that bad-looking!

 

Mike and Dave

 

Down the street, confusion reigns as the famed Wo Fat Building serves as the inspiration behind the Hawai‘i Five-0 villain of the same name while Amy Schumer’s character in her 2017 comedy Snatched spends time in nearby French-Latin fusion restaurant Grondin. Blogging. Give us a break; nobody blogs anymore—she’d be Snapchatting.

 

Read more about Chinatown in the February issue of HONOLULU Magazine, on newsstands now, or click here for the digital edition. You can also purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY JAMES CHARISMA

 

 
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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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