Stars: Louis Koo, Nick Cheung, Louis Fan, Barbie Hsu, Ye Liu, Eddie Cheung, Gong Beibi, Carlos Chan, Flora Chan, Ankie Black, Ken Hung, Felix Lok | Written by Larry Cohen | Directed by Benny Chan
Engineer Grace Wong is kidnapped by thugs looking for her brother. Though her captors have destroyed the telephone in the room she is being held captive in, Grace is able to use her technical skills to repair the phone enough to call a random number. She gets through to slightly hapless debt collector Bob and implores him for help, setting Bob off on a mission to save a complete stranger from a mysterious group of conspirators, putting his life and relationship with his estranged son in danger.
This Chinese-Hong Kong remake of Cellular (and based on the same script by Larry Cohen) hits a lot of the right notes to make a satisfactory, dynamic thriller. Benny Chan proves to be a first rate director of action and tension. Connected starts quickly and the pace only drags somewhat towards the finale. Particularly brilliant is the car chase sequence early on, which manages to not only hit all the expected tropes of the well used set piece (shortcuts via storm drains, driving through lorries carrying cans of pop) but also seems genuinely exciting, vaguely realistic and also rather funny. This could also describe the film as a whole. The soundtrack is also very good and adds to the inconsiderable tension.
There are flaws, however, most notably in the basic premise: it is a very big ask to suspend our disbelief that Grace gets through to a mobile phone that just so happens to be in the same city as she is. There are also some dodgy subtitles (‘they were been nosey!’ claims the villain at one point) which is a little disappointing – one imagines that several instances of cheesy dialogue come across much better in the original language. There is also the aforementioned drag towards the end of the third act.
This is not, however, enough to derail what is actually a very well put together film that amuses, entertains and thrills in good measure. The Connected DVD also comes with a second disc of bonus content, making for a generous package. A very solid and satisfying thriller.