Review: ‘Fishing Luck’

A Taiwanese light romancer with more than just love on its mind, "Fishing Luck" fails to hook the viewer in the way the filmmakers seemingly intended. Evidently sincere attempt by former documaker Tseng Wen-chen to create a quality mainstream feature suffers from minimal chemistry between its leads and scant script muscle to go the distance. Film performed softly on local release mid-October.

A Taiwanese light romancer with more than just love on its mind, “Fishing Luck” fails to hook the viewer in the way the filmmakers seemingly intended. Evidently sincere attempt by former documaker Tseng Wen-chen to create a quality mainstream feature suffers from minimal chemistry between its leads and scant script muscle to go the distance. Film performed softly on local release mid-October.

Yarn is set on picturesque Lanyu (Orchid) Island, off the southeast coat of Taiwan and inhabited by the Tao race, descended from Filipinos. Unlikely set-up has big-city Chinese girl Lee Ching-ching (singer/VJ Linda, stiff) flying in to do an analysis of, uh, cell phone reception and becoming stranded when she loses her wallet. Staying at the home of her skirt-chasing guide, Behong (aboriginal singer Biung, OK), she appreciates the simple pleasures of Tao life and, especially, her happy-go-lucky host. Brightly lensed pic could have worked as a retro ’70s Taiwanese romcom if the leads had been livelier and the script busier. Unfortunately, it increasingly has the feel of a tourist promotion pamphlet-cum-ethnically correct ad for the noble virtues of aboriginal life. Tech package is professional.

Fishing Luck

Taiwan

Production

A Lumiere Motion Picture Co., Ocean Deep Films presentation of an Ocean Deep Films production. (International sales: Ocean Deep/Lumiere, Taipei.) Produced by Yeh Ju-feng. Executive producers, Yeh, Su Li-mei. Directed by Tseng Wen-chen. Screenplay, Tseng, Yang Yuan-ling.

Crew

Camera (color), Chin Ting-chang; editors, Chen Po-wen, Liu Yue-hsing; music, Fan Tsung-pei; art director, Lee Tien-chueh; costumes, Una Huang. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (APEC Films sidebar), Oct. 8, 2005. (Also in Tokyo Film Festival -- Winds of Asia.) Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Biung, Linda, Huang Ching-wang.
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