Last Chance Love

A glossily shot fortune cookie masquerading as a cross-cultural relationships drama, "Last Chance Love" would be better titled "Last Chance Vidbin."

A glossily shot fortune cookie masquerading as a cross-cultural relationships drama, “Last Chance Love” would be better titled “Last Chance Vidbin.” Produced, directed, co-written and starring former Hong Kong actress Ankie Lau (now German-based), the movie is ideal fodder for two-hour timeslots on all-night cable skeds.

Lau plays Jessica, a Hong Kong Chinese woman who married a Yank and settled in the States. Now divorced, she drags her teenage daughter, Kim (newcomer Michelle Mitchelle), back to H.K. to imbue the spoiled brat with some appreciation of her half-Chinese roots. While Kim goes into a deep funk, Jessica tries to get work and ends up waitressing in a U.S.-style diner.

More important, Jessica meets playboy Michael (Tyrone Power Jr.), a jewelry store manager who with two other jock buddies is planning to build a “bachelor paradise” luxury chalet complex in Thailand. Jessica is wary of making another emotional commitment, but when Kim goes missing and then flies back to the States, she and Michael are increasingly drawn together.

The script, developed by a team of five people from a story idea by Lau, presents a Hallmark-card view of both sides of the Pacific Ocean that’s so thick with cliches the actors almost need rubber boots to wade through them: The Yanks all look like they stepped out of “Dynasty,” and the Chinese are all noble dime-philosophers.

Performances and dialogue are pitched at a soap level — apart from Lau’s, which is painfully inadequate in English. Sole point of interest is the colorful, high-sheen lensing by Chinese d.p. Gu Changwei, in his first offshore assignment after distinguished work on such mainland pics as “King of the Children,” “Ju Dou,” “Red Sorghum” and “Farewell My Concubine.”

Last Chance Love

  • Production: A Lau Film Intl. production, in association with Cinerent (Hong Kong). (International sales: Lau Film, Munich.) Produced, directed by Ankie Lau. Co-producer, Michael A. Popp. Screenplay, Lau, Rick Demarest, P. Cartwright, Ni Zhen, David Shiller, story by Lau.
  • Crew:
  • With: Jessica - Ankie Lau Michael - Tyrone Power Jr. Brett Stimely - Steven Kim - Michelle Mitchelle Robert - Bill Campbell Elke - Dey Young Mrs. Worthington - Sharon Farrell Michelle - Audrey Landers Jessica's Mother - Lai Suen (English and Cantonese dialogue) Camera (color), Gu Changwei; editor, Hannes Nikel; music, Yves Elegeert, Stefan Truyman; sound (Dolby SR Digital), Stefan von Hase, Hubertus Rath; associate producers, John Rockwell, Thomas Ng; assistant director, Sharon Lam. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 15, 1997. Running time: 99 MIN.
  • Music By: