Connected

Connected (Bo Chi Tung Wah) released in September, 2008, is a taut thriller with plenty of action. Directed by the veteran and reliable Hong Kong director Benny Chan, the film has enough action with shootouts and chases to keep the 18-30 year old males involved, enough eye candy and dramatics to satisfy the 25-45 males watching on DVD, and a sympathetic but resourceful woman as the victim of a kidnapping along with a couple of cute 6 year old kids, so you can safely ask your significant other along to watch the video with you.

In a nutshell, an attractive single Mom called Grace Wong, an electronics whiz played by the wonderful Barbie Hsu, while driving a sporty convertible gets into an auto accident which was no accident. When she recovers her senses, she as well as we are brought up to speed as we all learn she is a victim of a kidnapping.

The bad guys want something from her brother and think she might have it, or might know where he is. She doesn’t have a clue but the bad guys have to resort to some real heavy-handedness to get to that point.

Meanwhile, there’s a debt collector, Bob, played by Louis Koo. He is a single Dad, and his task this day is to meet his sister and his son Kit at the airport as they head off on a trip to Australia where Kit will then live with his mother.

Grace Wong (Barbie Hsu) hoping the phone will connect with someone, anyone!

But he is diverted from his task when he gets a phone call from Grace Wong who has jerry-rigged a just smashed telephone. She tells Bob, a complete stranger, that she has been kidnapped and he must help her.

Bob (Louis Koo) taking a call from Grace

Bob will run into a former police detective, Fai, played by Nick Cheung, who has been demoted and now is a traffic cop. So Fai, Bob, and Grace Wong all have their issues and their problems, and their diverse situations will of course all be connected, no pun intended, sooner or later, as they deal with the bad guys.

Liu Ye as the leader of the bad guys

If all of this sounds familiar, it is because this time, a Hong Kong outfit has done a remake of a Hollywood film. And that would be the 2004 action/thriller Cellular.

Benny Chan and his screenwriters – Bing Xu and Alan Yuen have done a splendid job of adapting the Cellular screenplay written by Larry Cohen and Chris Morgan. They pretty much stick to the script, again, no pun intended, of the original, and have done an excellent job of fitting the story to the Hong Kong locations as well as the Hong Kong style of action.

You will have to suspend disbelief when you watch the auto chases,which are fun and entertaining, although not particularly realistic.  While there’s plenty of gunfire, the sounds seem a little less noisy than you might have expected. But the color and locations are beautiful, and they’ve done a fairly good job with the pacing, so you’re not squirming in your seat during the slow down times.

Beibi Gong in a shootout

Koo is believable and likable, despite his grandiose overacting as a normal guy thrust into an unusual set of circumstances. Hsu as Grace Wong, is great as a frantic woman who has to work very hard just to keep Bob on the phone.  You should also be on the lookout for Beibi Gong, a stunning beauty who is one of the bad guys, and Liu Ye as the head of the gang that has grabbed Grace Wong. He’s kind of cardboard villain at times, but he conveys more than enough menace when needed.

The film does have plot holes as well as product placements galore. I could spend more time writing about the film’s issues, but the bottom line is that if you want to get ‘Connected’ for about 90 minutes, and this time, the pun is intentional, Benny Chan and the gang do deliver a rollicking entertainment. For my last comment, I did say this was a remake. The film even says so in a closing credit. They weren’t kidding. Even the movie posters are alike.

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