Friday, September 17, 2010


I've never seen Cellular (2004), the Hollywood thriller upon which Connected is based (hey, an Asian remake of a Hollywood picture -- there's a switch!) although I've heard it wasn't good. This 2008 Hong Kong version, however, is nothing short of superb. Director Benny Chan show's us how it's done, bringing his own brand of hyperkinetic action as well as a healthy dose of sustained, edge-of-your-seat suspense.

Louis Koo (Accident, Triangle) plays the Hitchcockian everyman who receives a call on his cell phone from a woman (Barbie Hsu) who's been kidnapped. He tries to hand the phone off to a former badass detective/now traffic cop (Nick Cheung, whom we last saw in The Beast Stalker), but the disgruntled officer thinks it's a prank. Of course he'll realize later that it wasn't and get involved in the case, much to the chagrin of his former underling/now boss (Eddie Cheung). Many jaw-dropping chase scenes ensue.

The pace is relentless and the tension taut throughout. Barbie Hsu's histrionics become occasionally tiresome, but what's the poor woman to do? Her loved ones are being threatened and brutalized by bad guy rogue Interpol dudes after … well, you gradually find out what they're after and why. But it doesn't really matter. What matters is wild action, OTT stunts and high tech hijinks all delivered with style and a sense of humor. Are we reinventing the wheel here? No. Is this an important film that will change the way you look at life? Probably not. Is it a top-notch cinematic thrill ride from one of the best action directors in the business? Oh yeah.

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