The saving grace is that it was partly shot in scenic Ilocos. Aside from that, there is nothing else much.
A remake of Joey Gosiengfiao’s magnum opus, Chris Martinez’s Temptation Island is like a China phone: substandard, pretentiously glittery, disposable.
Let’s begin with the acting department. The main stars—save for Ruffa Mae Quinto who was outrageously funny as usual, and Lovi Poe whose physical sensuality is matched by a most promising talent—were wanting in the acting department. The boys, for their part, delivered their lines in a manner inferior to a grade one pupil. Aljur Abrenica was mismatched with his part as a rich and smart college rascal, and I surmise Mikael Daez and Tom Rodriguez, the other two beefcakes, are cut out for the role of actors who simply do not know how to act. John Lapuz’s performance did not help. He played the role of a sophisticated bakla but his parlorista side refused to be subdued. It did not help that Martinez is really known to be more of a brilliant writer than a good director.
Also, the sequel was not as sensual as the 1980 campy film about four beauty queens and a few company stuck in an island-desert. Sex is an important component of the movie, and there was lack of it. Whatever love scenes were there lacked steam, and this we blame on SM which refuses to show R-18 movies in their cinemas. Any movie not shown on the country’s biggest mall chain fares miserably at the box office.
Other aspects of the production, particularly production design and cinematography, were good though, and this is in no small measure because of Rainier Alvarez, son of Tata Pepito and Nana Linda, whose family is very close to ours. Kuya Rainier, a Laoag native, is production manager of the movie co-produced by Regal Films and GMA Films. Kudos to Kuya Rainier for his big leap from events organizing in Ilocos to playing a major role in mainstream movie making.
Still, the 2011 movie seriously pales in comparison with the original Temptation Island, which attracted a cult following and which is considered a classic, so classic that the following lines of 32 years ago still bring much joy to moviegoers’ ears.
Here are some strange, biting, and quotable lines:
1. Careful, careful now. Mahirap atang i-achieve ang golden tan!
2. You see, I’m a crook and a damn good crook. And I can tell another crook when I see one – tulad mo.
3. OH, it’s a bright sunny day! O, bakit nakasimangot kayong lahat?Maria, ang sun tan ko nga!
As I was saying, it’s a bright sunny day. A day in the light of the sun. This is how I begin my day, an hour of tender loving care in the 8 o clock sunshine. ‘Yan ang secreto ng aking youthful complexion. Parang nasa tabi lang tayo ng swimming pool!
4. Ang lalakas naman ng loob niyong sumali, e hindi naman kayo magaganda!
5. Walang tubig. Walang pagkain… ‘Di magsayaw na lang tayo!
6. Mag-alis kayo ng panty kung gusto ninyo, but my panty stays right where it is!
7. Maraming klaseng puta. May big time, may small time. Puwes, big time ako!
8. Everybody needs a shipwreck once in a while.
9. Kung sabagay hindi rin kita napansin, pandak pandak mo kasi eh, tatabi tabi ka sa towering height ko. Must have been my fault, bitch!
10. Hay, who knows? Kasalukuyang kumakain ako ng pagkalaki-laking hotdog ng sandaling ‘yon. Sabotage, an accident, and a twist of fate, who knows?
In the final analysis, that Don Teodoro… pagbalik natin sa Maynila, naku, idedemanda ko ang matandang yan for constructing his yacht with cheap materials.
11. What about my flat, my Mercedez, my money, my jewels, my gourmet’s kitchen? My God, kahapon lamang kumakain ako ng pagkasarap-sarap na fried chicken and cold rose wine. And now, I would sell my soul to the devil for a glass of fresh water.
12. Why don’t you be yourself for a change! There ought to be a law against social climbers. You ought to be executed!
13. What are beaches for than to bitch around with fellow bitches?!
And my favorite:
14. “Rub-a-dub-a-dub, two bitches in a tub.”
Martinez consciously tried to make his movie a faithful copy of the first, but how can you equal, much less outdo, a classic? With nothing substantially new in it, the copy turns out forgettable and is headed to oblivion. As Temptation Island 2 did not say anything new, the lines, at least, could have been delivered in ways better than the original. This did not happen. I am happy though that it is doing well in the box office–27.5-M in the first five days, coming in second to the 341.92-M Transformers 3 has grossed in two weeks.
There is an apparent lack of creativity in the country today, which I suspect is why moviemakers just settle with lousy remakes instead of churning out new ideas.
And this is why I am happy with the success of “Looking for Johnny Moon,” the First Ilocos Norte Digital Arts Festival, held July 14-16 at the Plaza del Norte, formerly Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center. Attended by artists, teachers and students from the northern regions and Metro Manila, the event jumpstarted the province’s bid to be a hub of digital creativity. The stellar pool of speakers in the search for new Juan Lunas were led by award-winning directors Soxie Topacio and Mark Meily.
Leave it to Manang Imee, who would really just produce movies and other creative stuff if the world were not on her shoulders, to initiate events that celebrate the madness that is human artistry.
And why not, we have scenic locations that even Hollywood finds difficult to ignore. All we need are people crazy enough to record on film, and in a manner amazing, the many temptations they struggle against or fall into in their own islands, imaginary or real.