Temptation (1983)

Directed by: Richard Chen
Written by: Chang Yung-Hsiang, John He Xin, Chiu Hung-Kin & Foo Sau-Ling
Producers: Gong Shin-Sheng & Chiang Xian-Cheng
Starring: Liu Hsiao-Fen, Lung Siu-Wa, Ma Sha, Man Kwok Wa, & Go Ming


Yu Man Hung (Liu Hsiao-Fen) arrives in the city to visit her uncle (Go Ming) to tell him her father has passed away. Taken her and her brother in, uncle has just lost his best girl used for swindling money out of men and Yu Man Hung looks like the next, good choice. She reluctantly goes along but tries to set her brother on the path of education and eventually break away from the men controlling her...

Quite clearly yet another vehicle to put Liu Hsiao-Fen in but more in a lazy fashion rather than crafting another dramatic performance because after all, that's what her breakthrough stood for (via On The Society File of Shanghai). Knowing she's been sold in a sexy fashion promotion-wise, Richard Chen (Girl With A Gun aka Fury In Red) patches together a loose framework with mostly desperate comedy to carry it.

While it doesn't go into pitch black darkness, there is a serious aura somewhere in there that clearly isn't co-existing well with the otherwise buffoonery on display. Characters are broad, loud, cartoony which is very "well" represented by Yu's initiation and training into the swindle this small group of men and uncle have been running for some time. It's not witty but reeks more of throwing elements, visually and aurally, onto the screen and hoping it sticks. No huge fault of Liu Hsiao-Fen who is gorgeous and provides fair energy as she's swept away by this predicament she's in. It's another attempt to make her more of a comedienne which was never my personal preference but she's a notch or two above phoning it in. She pops the most out of anyone in the movie.

But the various development leading towards Yu Man Hung and her brother finding a footing and safety (which includes possible romance with geeky and clumsy Chi Tang (Lung Siu-Wa) lacks skilled drive and all involved seems so desperate to please through sound effect enhanced comedy, undercranked chases and so forth. There was a simple, felt tale to be told here and Taiwan wasn't afraid of darkness but the confidence to tap into the fine, dramatic range of Liu Hsiao-Fen is not present in Richard Chen here. Thankfully she got a chance subsequently to show she's not just a pretty girl on the poster. Shame so many forgot that in the wake of her breakthrough.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson