Temptation
Taiwan 1983
Directed by Richard Chan.


It's hard to resist the temptation of this Ocean Shores VCD, which claimed to be a Category III movie and had a ravishingly beautiful woman on the cover, clutching her pillow, her pouty lips open, eyes closed. Oh, but wait. The movie itself has nothing about it that even slightly suggests Category III. This straightlaced story is filled with Category III type situations, like being a dancer, scamming lustful men by pretending to want to sleep with them, attempted rape. But it's all handled in a very mild, innocent manner.

TEMPTATION is actually about Yu Man-Hung (Lu Hsiao-Fen), a beautiful girl whose father passed away and who has no one to care for her, and her younger brother (who is young enough to be her own son, but this age discrepancy is never explained). She was told to go to her Uncle Chiao's home by her father, and so she packs off to Taipei, with the hopes that he will welcome her. And indeed he will, mainly because he needs a beautiful girl in his gang to run a scam. She lures a man into a hotel room, then Uncle Chiao's gang burst in, accuse the man of attempting to rape their sister, and extort the hapless lecher for cash.

Man-Hung plays along for a while, but after one of the gangsters attempts to rape her for himself, she decides to leave. Unfortunately the gang quickly kidnaps her brother, and she has to play ball again. They escape together for a second time and find shelter with a kindly woman and her college-age son, named "Chicken Soup." They agree to keep her young brother there, away from the gangster's influences (at one point, she came home to find him smoking, gambling, and looking at porn). Soon, he's almost the top in his class.

Man-Hung, meanwhile, can't get a break. She's quite beautiful, and it seems as if she can do nothing, because her good looks will always be the only thing guys see. So she is continually hired in jobs that require some sort of sexual favors. She continuously rejects this and tries to live honestly, finally falling back in with the gang and doing a strip routine with a couple other dancers at weddings and construction sites (they undress, but only down to an outfit that still covers more than what might be exposed on any city street in the summer).

Although Lu Hsiao-Fen is fun to watch, and her sexy, not-very-bright big sister role is endearing, the movie is primarily a light comedy that is not very funny. Or is it supposed to be a drama? The movie is redeemed a bit by the end with a pretty decent fight sequence, and a rush across Taipei when it is discovered that her younger brother has been sent home with a time bomb. This is the sort of rough-and-ready action that I immediately associate with mid-eighties Hong Kong action films. This film emulates that feeling to some extent, but not for the better part of its running time.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on January 30, 2006.


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