Vancouver is Not the Bronx

Let me start off by saying that Vancouver is a beautiful city and I think it will do a fine job with the Winter Olympics.  With the Opening Ceremony scheduled for tonight, Vancouver is on many people's minds.  When I think of the city, I think of its unofficial nickname, "Hollywood North," due to the fact that a lot of movie and television productions film there because it is more cost effective than shooting in Los Angeles or New York City.  Click here to see a list of some of the many films that have used Vancouver as a location.  Some of the TV shows that have shot in Vancouver include The X-Files, Smallville, The 4400, Supernatural, Stephen King's It, all of the Stargate series, Battlestar Galactica, and many others.

But the one Vancouver production that stands out in my mind is Jackie Chan's Rumble in the Bronx.  The 1996 Hong Kong martial arts film is a guilty pleasure, but its use of Vancouver to stand in for my hometown of the Bronx is laughable.  There are no mountains in the Bronx!  I repeat, there are no mountains in the Bronx!  Yet, there in the background, as Jackie Chan deals with some hoodlums, are the peaks seen from Vancouver.  While the Bronx does have some nice waterfront property, the harbor depicted in the movie is alien to me.  I won't criticize the caricatured villains or the stereotypical gangs portrayed in the film, since it is so much fun watching Jackie Chan have such an obvious good time beating them up.  Even the art for one of the posters of the movie shows a composite skyline of Manhattan, not pictures of the Bronx.

The boogie-down Bronx deserves some more movie and TV productions, because Vancouver, while a lovely city, just isn't the same thing.  True, we are part of New York City, and therefore probably just as expensive to film here as in Manhattan, but for the extra cost filmmakers get a sense of authenticity that they just will not find on a dressed up set in Canada.  Look at some of the great projects filmed in the Bronx and you will see what I'm talking about: On the Waterfront, The Seven-Ups, True Love, The Godfather, and many more. (Sadly, only one scene from A Bronx Tale was filmed in my borough.  Boo, Chaz Palminteri, boo!)

So I salute Vancouver for welcoming our TV and motion picture crews, and I wish them great success during these Winter Olympics.  But the next time a location scout wants to use your streets as a substitute for New York, please send them to the real Bronx. 

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