Barbie Hsu stars as Grace Wong, a single mother and electronic engineer working for a toy designer. For reasons unknown, Grace is kidnapped by a sadistic gang that wants something her brother has. However, in the small cabin she is held captive at, there is a broken phone and with some effort she somehow gets it to work again. It’s just that she can’t dial a certain number directly, which is why she gets connected to shy debt collector Bob by chance. He’s on his way to the airport to say goodbye to his son and has no time for Grace’s troubles, however, he quickly realizes that this is not a prank call, and that he is this poor woman’s only chance of rescue.
The film early on establishes Bob as a man of good intention who nonetheless has a bad reputation of being a disappointment. This makes the character more torn about the decisions he must make throughout the film, which in turn gives Connected more of an emotional depth. Connected works extremely well as a stand alone film and if Hong Kong is running out of ideas, which is certainly the case, 98% of the time, a welcome legal copying is not entirely a bad move. You see, this is actually a remake of a domestic movie called Cellular that came out a few years back in the states. The high pacing of the film, though, isn’t just Hollywood-like, but also a trademark of director Benny Chan, director of New Police Story [review], who once again shows us how to make maybe not profound or smart movies, but at least very entertaining ones.
The centerpiece of the story is an exhilarating car chase in which Bob, in an effort to keep up with the bad guys, races through the streets smashing dozens of cars, damn near takes down a building, and creates havoc everywhere he goes. Fantastic good old-fashioned Hong Kong action. Structurally, Connected is also a carbon-copy of Cellular, yet it manages to improve in key areas that allow for a far more entertaining viewing experience. It is obvious that Connected is the kind of movie where you either believe in storyline and go with the flow and endure through the extreme and the predictability or quite simply just diss it as a stupid movie and end up just having half the fun.
Benny Chan adds a whole lot of fresh air to his filmography with this effort, even if it’s from remake territory. Moreover, you get the feeling that the director takes you on a ride through almost all of Hong Kong in respect to the numerous chasing scenes through the city. This creates dynamic and the illusion of maybe not an epic but certainly enough big action movie. A fair comparison would be the work of Michael Bay who directed the latest Transformers [review] film. He makes bad movies, yes, but despite the lousy scripts, and cardboard characters, he manages some kinetic, rousing entertainment. If aping the commercial excesses of a guy like Michael Bay was Benny Chan’s goal, then congratulations, he succeeded.