Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 24th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 2008
Director: Benny Chan
Writers: Alan Yuen, Benny Chan, Bing Xu (screenplay adaptation), Larry Cohen (original story), Chris Morgan (2004 screenplay “Cellular”)
Cast: Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu, Nick Cheung, Ye Liu, Siu-Wong Fan, Siu-Fai Cheung, Beibi Gong, Carlos Chan, Flora Chan, Ankie Beilke, Ken Hung
DVD released: September 20th, 2010
Approximate running time: 106 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Chinese, Dolby Digital Stereo Chinese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Cine Asia / Showbox Media Group
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
Synopsis: A woman is kidnapped after dropping her daughter off at school one day. Cut off from the world. She manages to get a broken phone to connect with a stranger, who aides her in her quest for freedom.
Over the last decade Hollywood has been raping and pillaging countless Asian produced films, most notably from Japan and Hong Kong. So it is appropriate that Hong Kong cinema would return the favor via a remake of the a Hollywood produced film called Cellular.
Connected was co-written and directed by Benny Chan, who’s other stand out films include The New Police Story and Invisible Target. Even though Benny Chan is more known for his operatic action films and working with Jackie Chan. With Connected he shows that he is more than capable of reigning in the bombastic actions sequences. In favor of more emotional charged character moments that are integral to the mounting tension in Connected.
And while the action does at times take back seat to this films more melodramatic moments. That does not mean that Benny Chan just glosses over these moments. There are a handful of intricate action set pieces that all deliver and then some. The standout action sequences include a shoot out at the kidnaps woman’s house and a chase down the side of a mountain.
Performance wise are all very good in their respective roles with the film’s stand out performance coming from Barbie Hsu (On His Majesty’s Secret Service), who is cast in the role of Grace Wong the woman who is kidnapped. The film’s other lead Louis Koo (Robin-B-Hood) gives a convincing performance as a man named Bob, who has spent his life running away from finishing what he starts. Another performance of note is Ye Liu (Blood Brothers), who is cast in the film’s main villain role.
Right off the bat this film establishes a brisk pace that holds up for the majority of the film. Unfortunately it is during the film’s final act that things really go awry. When all is said and done, it is not the familiarity to the story at hand that ultimate does this film in. It is a muddled finale that almost feels like a completely different film all together.
Cine Asia presents Connected in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels generally fare well and details look crisp throughout. It should be noted that there are so mild instances of combing, more noticeable during action heavy sequences. Overall quality wise this transfer is comparable to the transfer used for Tai Seng’s 2009 DVD release.
This release comes with four audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 Chinese, Dolby Digital Stereo Chinese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Dolby Digital Stereo English. All four audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. The differences range wise between the 5.1 and stereo mixes in minimal. Overall none of these audio tracks are overpowering and at times their range is limited. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included.
The extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one include a teaser (1 minute 20 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a trailer (2 minutes 10 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) for the film and 24 deleted /alternate / extended scenes. Also included with this release are trailers for The Myth, Ip Man, Beast Stalker, The Shinjuku Incident, Raging Phoenix, House of Fury, Fatal Move, Flash Point, The Machine Girl and Robogeisha.
Extras on disc two include a ‘Making of’ featurette (20 minutes 14 seconds – 4:3 full frame), five ‘Behind the Scenes’ segments that focus on stunts and key locations and interviews with director Benny Chan (20 minutes 54 seconds – 4:3 full frame), actors Nick Cheung (4 minutes 40 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and Louis Koo (10 minutes 33 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and actress Barbie Hsu (9 minutes 29 seconds – 4:3 full frame). There are a wealth on extras include with this release. The interviews cover familiar ground as all of the participants discuss their involvement in this film and there is also some discussion about Cellular which this film is a remake of. Also there is a lot of behind the scenes footage, most of which focuses on the stunts featured in this film. All of the extra content comes with English subtitles. Overall Connected gets a well rounded DVD release from Cine Asia.