King of Peking (2017) Script

Let me tell you a story kiddo.

There were two folks named Wong.

One senior, one junior.

They were movie people.

But not your typical movie people.

They were a team.

Like partners from old Westerns.

Lots of people talked about the Wongs back then.

They even made a movie about them two.

I forget the name.

It had one of those silly, grand titles.

When was that now?

Late last century.

But I remember the picture opened with a curtain.

I guess all movies did back then.

A bit higher.

Right there.

Hold on!


Catch a Hollywood movie for a dollar!

This Sunday only!

Just one buck!

Hollywood blockbuster for a buck! This Sunday only!

A buck!

A Hollywood movie for a buck!

Gentlemen, come see this flick!

-Where? -The kindergarten!

Tonight only, a Hollywood movie for a buck!

Sir, wanna see a rip roaring, nail biting blockbuster for a buck?


Never mind.

Riggs, prep the chairs.

Who's Riggs?

It's a game we play.

Seen any '80s Hollywood movies?


Lethal Weapon.

Look it up.

You two, peg the bottoms!

It's gonna get windy.

Little Wong!

Get a cord.


Add more bass.


Right there.


Nah, I'm building a volcano for fun.

You got skills.

When I was your age, I was still counting my toes.

How much longer?

About ten minutes.

Buy your tickets!

Find your seats. Film starts in five!

Miss today and you'll have to wait till next month!

Listen up!

Don't even think about sneaking in!

See my son? He's watching you like a hawk!

Next batch of popcorn's ready!


This movie came out ages ago.

Don't watch it then.

Why would I want to?

I got the video at home.


Two minutes to show time. Radio silence.

Roger that.








Three. Two.


Keep an eye out.

Tell me when the first explosion happens.

I'll change reels.

What's this? Following me now?

Our son working here is child labour.

It's not child labour if he's not paid.

You said he wouldn't work for you.

You said I'd raise him since you can't.

You call this raising?

Enough. I'm just screening a film.

It's not like I beat him.

You come all this way to bust my balls?

I don't want it.

I don't want it! Dad, it exploded.

Too early. It happens later.

No, it really exploded.

Turn on the hose, idiot!


Out of the way!

Hey, movie man.

Give us a refund.



Come on. You all had fun.

Why ruin the evening by talking money?

Can it be fixed?

Sure it can.

The Soviets build these like their tanks. Couldn't break it if I tried.

Your mum say anything I should know about?

She said you're a selfish pig.

Besides that.

She wants me to live with her.

You want that?


You can be honest with me.

If I change my mind I'll notify you.

Notify me?

The Age of Innocence?

Good call! That was a tough one.

Hey, what're you doing?

That's school property, don't touch.

Now get to class.

Wake up. Don't want to be late.

I have appendicitis and chicken pox.


-We didn't even go home. -You'll go home after school.

-Let's make a deal. -No deals.

I'll go to class if you take me to the fun park.

Win a Nobel Prize and I'll take you. Fair?

Big Wong, remember to buy school books.

He's two weeks late.

Got it.

They say in an argument, the one with a lawyer always wins.

Wong Senior had to read the letter three times to understand it.

It was an ultimatum.

Give up custody, or pay ten grand a month in spousal support.

Old Liu! How you been?

Got a sec?

I don't have any money.

Anyone owe you?

That's beside the point.

What did I tell you?

You shouldn't have made the kid work.

He's a natural.

Better than me. Earns cash just as fast.

Yeah, cash you have to fork over.

You that dumb?

How long could you keep paying her?

A month tops?

Then she'll have the kid and your cash.

And you'll have nothing.


Number 75!

Is number 75 here?

-Loan amount? -Ten thousand to start.

-Purpose of loan? -Spousal support.

-Bring your documents? -Yes.

-Damn, ten grand. -How much you earn?

He's a movie man.

Movie men are rich.

No, he just screens them.

We're not a charity. He's dreaming.

She's giving you an out.

Weekly visits aren't bad.

My cousin has it worse.

Got a lawyer?

With what money?

Give up.

Cheaper too.

No choice really. Tragic.

Same as my cousin, exactly the same.

Hello, is this Dongdan cinema?

May I ask if you're hiring?

Huh? Janitor?

I'm a projectionist.

I want to recommend a projectionist. He's a genius.

Name's Wong. Wong as in "king".

But I've got a PhD in cinema from Leningrad.

The school dean's right here.

He'll vouch for me.

Professor Sputnik speaking.

Robin Hood?

Nope. Think the distant future.

What is it?

2001: A Space Odyssey.

Closing up?

Wait! I saved a pancake for the kid.

Thanks auntie.

You're welcome.

Homework done?


One times four is four, carry the five...

Is Guard Wen here?

I called about a job yesterday.

Over there.

What's the janitor's pay?

300 a month. Minus a 100 finder's fee.

Finder's fee?

Everyone here pays it.

Don't worry, I'll accept the fee on the cinema's behalf.

So, you in or out?

You'll be the one living on site.

It's underground?

You gotta look at it differently.

Stand upright, then it's underground.

But stand upside-down and it's upstairs.

Kinda creepy.

True. Our last janitor lived down there 17 years until he died.

Guess the song yet?


No running around, got that?

I promised the boss we'd keep quiet.

Come in and out through the garage.

Got it?

What's that look for?

This is Riggs and Murtaugh's secret headquarters.

Other kids want in, but can't.

Come here.

See that?

First time I saw one of these, films were still black and white.

I was about your age.

I thought Italy and France were all black and white.

Who knew they lived in colour.

This place is pretty good, huh?

It's like a palace.

Done your homework?

The Lone Ranger?

Not bad.

You're their janitor now?

Do these look like janitor's hands?

I'm a projectionist.

Always was, always will be.

Tomorrow I'll screen them a classic.


Smokey and the Bandit.

Which one?

All three.

No way.

Better believe it.

Word spread that I work here now.

Sold so many tickets they had to turn people away.

Hurry up Riggs! We got a job to do!

-Don't miss the reel change today. -Huh?

Smokey and the Bandit.

Not a chance.

Pay attention in class!


How much you earn?



Minus the finder's fee.

Finder's fee? Our last usher got 400.

She must be more qualified.

She's in middle school.

Instant noodles, spam, beef jerky!

Who said you could spit pips on the floor?

Instant noodles, spam, beef jerky!

Wong Senior took a hard look at the maths.

He'd never afford those payments.

He'd have to let the kid go.

His ex-wife worked for the railways, which paid a decent wage in those days.

Enough to raise a child.

Her lawyer told her to relax.

She just had to wait.

Wait for Big Wong to break.

Who has a cell phone? I'll give you half price beef jerky!

Hi. You win.


Who's this?

I'm in car 5, row 5, lower bunk.

Where's my ex-wife?

She's selling stuff.

Ask him why he paged me.

Why'd you page her?

I surrender.

He says he gives up.

But on Sundays the kid's with me.

He says Sundays are his. You get him rest of week.

He has to apologise first.

Tell her you were wrong.

Wrong! Are you nuts?

Know how much this call's costing me?

Say you were wrong.

I was wrong!

Wrong to marry her!

What'd he say?

Says he was wrong.

Tell him I'll pick up my boy Sunday.

Page her the address. You've made the right choice.

20 cents.

Basalt is the most common volcanic rock.

But my favourite's pyroclastic.

After that I like alkaline.

Then it's scoria.

And then I like...

High time we bought you school books.

There's a book store out here?

Sure, the biggest book store in town.

More books than the National Library.

Hey bro!

Which way to the second hand store?

We gotta talk, kiddo.

You know your mum and I...

What's up?



No matter what happens, you and I have to stick together.

Boss, you sell other stuff?

If it doesn't eat or shit, I sell it.

How about this?

You find this in a dumpster?

The recession closed lots of Japanese factories.

South of Yanjiao.

That area with the smoke stacks?

Yeah. That'll be 23.80.

They flew back to Japan, left heaps of stuff.

You gave me 30. I'll get your change.

What's this?

A prototype.

It was almost dark.

Wong Lao sat in his house.

He was still cursing the thief.

Suddenly, Teacher Wong...


South of Yanjiao.

One egg or two?

What's going on?



Reason for coming?

I'm looking for entertainment.

To help me forget my awful life choices.

How'd you like to be a partner in King of Peking?

That a restaurant?

It's a movie studio, named after us.

Our last name means "king".

Who'll be the king?

Me. You'll be my next in line.

We'll be like Warner Brothers.

What grade are they in?

They don't go to your school.

They're movie moguls.

What about homework?

I'll do it for you. Important thing is we hand it in.

And the movie posters?

I was fourth best in elementary art class.

You can help.

I have one condition.

We'll build your volcano.

Bring all the dark clothes you've outgrown.


Heard of a photography dark room?

Your mum gave you this for your last birthday.

Up we go.

A photography dark room.

Our work unit is like a family.

The head supervisor is like a parent.

I am your benevolent uncle.

Are you naughty children?


What's our motto?

Friendly service, diligent work.

No stealing, keep your fly zipped!

Punishment for breaking the rules?

Immediate termination, no notice!

Shame on you and your future generations!

What's our policy on honesty?

One rat poo spoils the whole broth!

And who likes rat poo?

No one.

Wait for me in the basement, got that?

We shouldn't start till night.

When everything's locked up?

Big Wong! The toilet's blocked!

Be right there!

Let's make a movie.

Four, five, six, seven, eight...

Quarter of a reel.

Your mum can't know about this.

Why? I thought she was fine with it.

She is.

Then why can't she know?

It'd be better as a surprise.

Mum doesn't like surprises.

That's why we shouldn't tell her at all.

Prep for countdown.


Commencing final check.

Bigger, even bigger.

Stop! Perfect!

Ready when you are.

Five. Four.




That wasn't too hard.

It's the tip of the iceberg. 5.75 reels to go.

Two, three, four, five, six...


Up you get, breakfast time!

It's Saturday.

Doesn't mean you get to sleep in.

This is ground control. All systems go.

What're you doing?

Hurry it up!

Four more reels to go.

You gonna let the movie stop halfway?

Four more reels, one reel per shift.

Still four more shifts.

So do it the easy way.

And what's that?

What if someone throws their trash in?

Don't be stupid. Everyone knows these are just for show.

Why else make their mouths so small?

Clever, you take after me.

What do I always say?

Give your kid an education and they'll give you the world.

Giddy up!

The movie's trapped in that?

We caught a beauty. An absolute success.

What're you gonna do with the movies?

Make identicals.

That's copying.

Mum says copying isn't good.

It's no big deal.

What we're doing is creative.

We're making things, building stuff, yes?

Years from now people will talk about this day.

There'll be a statue of us down there on the corner.

Celebrating the day King of Peking was born.

You mean next to the bus stop?

Yes, right next to the bus stop.

Bring your A-game tonight, okay?

I don't have an A-game.

Says who? Show me the smile that sells tickets.

That's the one. Even I'd give you money.

See the most exciting movie in cinema history!

It's got action, romance!

-How much? -6 bucks and a free plastic bag.

-Family friendly? -I saw it when I was 4.

-I thought it's new. -It's the remake.

-Will it cure my arthritis? -Sure will!

I used to be dead.

Watching this film brought me back!

How many did we sell?

We sold out.

They all asked what we'd have next.

What'd you say?

You want it, we got it.

That's right.

What's new this week?

It's cinema classics week.

Classic cinema.

Hey mister, what'd you think of Indiana Jones 3?

On your marks.

One. Two.


One week only!

See the best of Chinese and Hollywood cinema!

We've got action, romance! This week only!

Don't tell my wife!


Don't tell my husband.


No one else I knew was doin' what they were doin'.

Not back then anyway.

The Wongs became well known in our neighbourhood.

You could ask them about any film.

Not that the Wongs always agreed.

Thanks to Big Wong, I got to watch all the old movies. Kurosawa, John Ford, you name it.

One day some computer students dropped by.

Suggested partnering to start a distribution company.

But Big Wong respectfully said no.

Distribution was for businessmen.

And he was a movie man.

He had more important things to do.

We still building the volcano today?


I'll get a box set.

Dad, one box set!

Over there.

Buy 3 pancakes, get a movie half price.

Ma'am, take a look!

We need to dub these into Chinese.

-Says who? -Everyone!

That takes money!

We're King of Peking! Kings stand for quality!

Jim, someone tried to kill you in front of your house!

Isn't it time to have a long think?

I have been thinking, Lucy.

Thinking a long time.

Surely we must do something.

I couldn't bear to not see you again.

I know.

Once we return to our home planet, the high court will try you for treason.

And sentence you to death!

The high court can judge me after we finish our mission!

Once we return to our home planet, the high court will try you for treason.

And sentence you to death!

The high court can judge me after we finish our mission!

The lady on the third floor wants the box set.

When we building the volcano?

Real soon.

Line up if you want a DVD!

Have cash in hand!

Know what you want.

Don't waste everyone's time!

Dad, is it volcano time now?


Hey, you didn't pay! Come back!

Watch this for me.

Come back!

A bit higher.


That's it, don't move.


Now don't move.





Dad, when we building the volcano?

Very soon.

How soon's very soon?

Very soon is very soon.

-5 bucks. -Just one rollercoaster ride.

Our rollercoaster's just a poster. 2 bucks for a photo with it.

One, two, three.


Mister, I'm talking to you!

It's kids only! Grown ups after six!


Got it.

It didn't load. I've hit seven.

Dad's double dagger!

Didn't hit a thing.


What're you doing here?

-Don't pretend. -Who's pretending?

This where you work now?

Yeah, I'm in charge of everything here.

Big Wong, toilet's blocked again.

I'm off already, I'll do it tomorrow!

You going to let me in?

The kid's asleep.

Enough games!

Who's playing games?

Son, your mum's here!

I'm very sleepy.

Please come back later.

I'm doing really well with dad.

Hear that? His own words.

We had an agreement.

We did.

And I accept the challenge.

Don't you get it?

This has nothing to do with money!

You set the rules, not me.

Don't kid yourself.

You could never earn ten grand a month.

You should've asked for more.

Should've asked for 20.


Ten grand a month.

One day late and all gloves are off.

Then it won't just be my lawyers knocking on your door.

You take care now.

If my son works for you again... just you wait.




When can we eat?

Soon, almost done.

I'm starved, you know.

You listening?

A good dish takes time.

Mum never cooks this late.

I'm not your mum.

If I don't eat now I'll die. Hurry it up.

Quit nagging, be patient.

I'm working on it.

Now look.

I'm not eating that.

Then what'll you eat? You blaming me?

If not for your mum we'd be eating like royalty.

Where'd you get this?

The lottery. We have our ways.

Don't go far.

I know about your little business.

What business?

My old lady bought Zorro on DVD.

You appear at the film's start.

Pressing record.

The kid's still so young.

Ought to think about what he wants.

Who cares what he wants?

So long as his mum doesn't take him, everything else is bullshit.

Remember, if she asks, you do your own homework.

I just advise.

Got it.

King of Peking doesn't exist.

You're your same old self. I'm my same old self.

You're as happy as ever. So am I.

Everything's great with us.

There you are! Been searching all day!

One payment in full.

You earned all this as a projectionist?

I do lots of overtime.

That's the only way I know.

Using you? Impossible.

Why'd she say it then?

She's nuts.

What, don't trust me anymore?

Know what time it is?

Volcano time.

You like volcanoes, right?

Bird of Paradise.

Coolest special effects of 1932.


Says who? It's awesome.

What's up?

Mum's right.

You're a selfish pig.

No throwing.

Pick it up.

You're using me.

Don't throw at the projector!

I don't care about your crap projector.

You should!


You're up.

One egg or two?

Hey, why aren't you dressed for school?

I don't want to live here anymore.

I'm going to mum's.

Stop kidding around.

It's true.

You said you wanted to stay with me.

That was before.

So you lied?


I knew you were joking.

I want to go to mum's.

I'm gonna build my own volcano.

Volcanoes. Nothing but volcanoes.

You're like a recorder on repeat.

Get dressed for school.

Want to know about volcanoes?

They've been around thousands of years.

And they'll be here for thousands more.

We're around for just a few decades.

After that, we die.

So our lives are far more precious than any volcano.

Name me one thing to make you stay. I'll do it.


-Where'd you learn that? -History class.

What's it mean?

Close the company.

No way.

Any guesses?

Nothing to do with me.

Sounds like Dracula, but it's not.

Not interested.

It's not Hunchback of Notre Dame.

-I said I'm not interested. -It's Jekyll and Hyde from 1931.

Know when I first watched it?

I don't care.

Son, remember: you're Riggs to my Murtaugh.

You have 30 minutes to complete the exam.

Answer questions in pencil.

If you make a mistake, erase it and write the correct answer.

If you need to correct again, use a red pen.

And if you need to correct that, then use a blue pen.

There's a test today?

What else would we study for?

When's the movie start?

In 3 minutes 45 seconds.

-Where's guard Wen? -Lunch break.

Clear up in there, we added more seats. This movie's a hit.


What're you doing?


Pullin' my leg?

For real.

It's an infrared camera, I'm checking no one's secretly recording.

It's the VX203, fool.

25 frames per second camcorder with auto zoom and dual playback.

You're the fool.

We designed it exactly like the VX204.

You mean 203. 204's not out yet.

Amateurs like you just can't tell the difference.

I can tell you're full of it.

Oh yeah? Shut up or you're out of here.


Hey, who's in charge?

This idiot's secretly recording!

It's okay.

I work here.

This the first time?


You never made any copies?


You searched the basement?

There's nothing in there.

Just kids' stuff, some dirty blankets.

You double checked?


Okay. You're head janitor now.

You're lucky I don't press charges.

Get out of here.

What about my stuff?

You've got some nerve.

This is Little Wong's exam. This is the student's next to him.

Has he copied before?


Any of his friends who might be a bad influence?


Talk to him.

Kids are easily swayed.

If you're not careful they go astray.


How could you do that?

Learned it all from you.

Am I like that?

How are you different?

I do stuff to entertain people. I help folks in need. See?

You fill it up?

Helping a friend in need is good, right?

But we charge them money.

Because they want to pay.

So if we gave it for free we'd help them even more.

It's not that simple.

Luckily your teacher's nice. He won't chase it up.

Just wants me to give you a talking to. Don't you see?

You could jeopardise everything.

You and I are like Robin Hood and Friar Tuck.

One dumb move and you break up the merry men.

You want that?

Give me your school bag.

My books are in there.

Do it.

Wait in the car.

Where you want it delivered?

Canton, that's far.

Give me three days.

Holy crap. He's stealing my movies.

I'm at the stage door.

I said stay in the car!

What're you doing? Hey!

What's going on?

This is private property. Know what that means?


I know you. You're that janitor's kid.

He's fired, didn't he tell you?

You sneaking in, you little runt?

Your dad with you?

I studied kung fu in a school near Shaolin.

Just 13 bus stops from Shaolin Temple.

So close I could smell their kitchen's cooking.

My master taught me all the best moves.

I could snap a kid like you in two.

Where's your dad to stop me?

Wake up kid.

He's a thief.

He only cares about himself.

You're all alone.

That's hilarious!

Bet you pissed your pants.

Get lost.

Don't ever pull that again.

Hey, you two. Seen a kid about this tall?

He was just here, you must've seen him.

Little Wong!

Hey mister!

Did you just see a kid about so high?

What do you want?

Nothing, just catching up.

Cut the crap. What is it?

How's your day been?


Me too.

Put Little Wong on.

I'm just cooking him dinner.

He can talk afterwards.

So let him talk and eat.

Sure, hold on.

Son. Mum's on the phone.

He's asleep.

Say again?

He did nothing but homework today.

He's fast asleep in bed. Listen.

Hear that? Homework exhausted him.

So why are you paging me from the pool hall?

He's with you.

King of Peking? You really take the cake.

He told you?

Everything you said was fake. Every word.

It wasn't all fake.

There just wasn't much truth.

I'll give you a bit of truth.

He's living with me from now on.

What, on the train?

If need be.


Says who? It's already decided.

Don't come stirring up trouble.

If you do, you'll never see him again.

20 cents!

How'd it go?

First, the good news.

You get to visit him on Sundays.

That's the good news?

Took me all day on the phone just to get you that.

I'll find more money.

-It's not about money. -It is.

You really think you're a good father?

I am.

I'll tell you the bad news then.

Your son doesn't want to do the Sundays.

What's that look for?

He doesn't want to see you.

He's been picked up already!

Once we return to our home planet, the high court will try you for treason.

And sentence you to death!

The high court can judge me after we finish our mission!

Jim, someone tried to kill you in front of your house!

Isn't it time to have a long think?

We close in five. Got a place to stay?

I'll find somewhere.

Everything will be closed.

Go faster on the next take.

We've done it all day already.

What, tired?

We'll record this till it's right.

How many times do I tell you and you don't listen.

I thought we were partners.

Know what partners do?

They help each other.

You're gonna build a volcano?

My kid likes 'em.

Building it won't get you custody.

I know. I'll need your help and equipment.

You're a pain in the ass.

That's a yes?

Fine, you win. Alright?

Look at you, being all dad. Makes me never want kids.

Let's do this!


All set.

Instant noodles, spam, beef jerky!

Beef jerky.

Make way. Break it you pay for it.

Hey! No soliciting onboard.

I'm not selling, I'm delivering.

So what? Get it off this train.

You want it off? That's another ten bucks.

From the Nobel Prize Committee.

Who's the volcanologist Professor Wong?

Professor Wong? "My Volcano".

A volcano is a mountain or hill.

At its peak is a crater or vent.

A volcano erupts lava and hot vapour.

Other gases also burst from inside.

Lava is even faster than the world's fastest runner.

It gives the soil lots of nutrients.

And helps the environment.

That's why I like volcanoes.


I think you should too.

There. I'm done.

You can turn it off.

I said turn it off!

What garbage. Get it out of here.

And you get back to your homework!

Riggs, if you're there, pick up.

I'm not Riggs.

You and I are on radio silence.

To hell with radio silence.

Where are you?

Not far.

Mum says no talking to you.

Didn't she tell you? She changed her mind.

Said she's eternally sorry for hurting me.

Hey, you like the volcano?

It sucks.

Nearly broke my back making it.

Volcanoes don't have TVs.

That's what you sketched!

You don't get it.

It's a volcano ticket booth.

A ticket booth? You're joking.

It's a volcano fun park.

The crater's a plastic ball pool.

Why didn't you say so?

Stop faking, you must've known, I drew it so clearly!

What're you doing Sunday?


And after that?

More homework.

We could hit the fun park?



Let's make a deal.

This is our one day this week, no naps, you hear?

Back to the Future?


Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Keep guessing.

Tom and Jerry.

What're you talking about?

That's a cartoon, not a movie.

I'm sure they made a movie.

Don't tell mum about this.

I thought she was fine with it.

She is. Then why can't she know?

It'd be better as a surprise.

Your mum hates surprises. It's definitely water proof?

Worried? Then use that instead.

The volcano fun park's here! This Sunday only!

Jump in the lava pool for a buck!

The volcano fun park's here! Sunday only!

Don't miss out! A ticket for a buck!

The volcano fun park is here! Sunday only!

Don't miss out!

Jump in the lava pool for a buck!

Come and play, only today!

The volcano fun park's here!

This Sunday only!

Jump in the lava pool for a buck!

The volcano park's here, don't miss it!

Mister, you got kids?


Never mind!

Play at the volcano fun park!

One buck, today only!

The bass is a little off.

Best I could do.

Did everyone pay?

See that guy over there?

The one who just lit up.


He snuck in.

Hey, you with the bowl cut!

Think you can play without a ticket?

You heard the man. Out now!

No ticket, no play!


Yes, I'm talking to you.

And you're smoking too?

Who said you could smoke?

And so the curtain closed.

Which was how most movies ended back in the day.

And did they ride off into the sunset? Depends on when you end the story.

They had their Sundays.

For a time.

Wong Junior grew up.

A few years later, the father moved south.

Found a job in construction.

Dad and I always had our differences.

But son, I wouldn't trade that summer with him for anything.

That summer we were kings of Peking.