Despite its lovely lyricism, the above quote doesn't appear anywhere in the film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale. It is, in fact, the short synopsis from the film's press notes. Whoever wrote those press notes should be commended, because they wrote a three sentence synopsis that's better than the 2.5 hour film it describes. If only the film itself had contained even half of that same poetic depth then it would have truly been something to treasure. There are glimmers of that potential here and there, but that's mostly all Warriors of the Rainbow is - potential. It has all the makings of a thundering epic, a kind of Braveheart meets The Mission, but the end result feels like director Wei Te-sheng threw all the right ingredients into a bowl, but forgot to mix them together. The final product is a disjointed collection of cliches and ideas that never jell together into a cohesive whole.
|Lin Yuan-Joe and Lin Ching-Tai in Wei Te-Sheng’s WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE |
Courtesy of Well GO USA.
But when the oppression becomes too much to bear, he begins to reflect on the potential lost souls of the young members of his tribe whose hands have never known battle and whose faces remain unadorned with the traditional tattoos signifying manhood. It soon becomes clear that the only way to save their souls is to give up their lives. Hopelessly outmatched and out gunned, Rudo leads his people into battle, fighting not for freedom, but for eternity.
|Da Ching in Wei Te-Sheng’s WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE.|
Courtesy of Well GO USA.
Wei just doesn't spend enough time developing the history between these two peoples. Without the back story to provide some answers, it's almost easy to see why the Japanese were so disgusted by the Seediqs - they were every bit as brutal as the propaganda claimed (if the film is to be believed). Despite the film's ideological slippery slope, for his part, Lin Ching-Tai is excellent as Mouna Rudo. The non-professional actor simply exudes wisdom and courage, and he beings an anchoring quality to a film that often gets lost ferreting off on its own tangents. Beautiful cinematography can't mask a weak script, and despite some thrilling action sequences and moments of searing emotion, the script just doesn't do the story any justice. While Warriors of the Rainbow may have been a passion project for Wei that was years in the making, it never becomes the film one knows it can be.
GRADE - ★★ (out of four)
WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE | Directed by Wei Te-Sheng | Stars Ling Ching-Tai, Umin Boya, Ando Masanobu | Not rated | In Seediq w/English subtitles | Now playing in select cities.