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Bob (Louis Koo)'s life isn't going well at all. A single father in a dead-end job as a debt collector, he's trapped in a job that goes against his usual easy-going helpful nature and he's under tremendous pressure to be a better dad, a better brother, a better worker, even a better person. While dealing with all this and his sister (Flora Chan)’s threat to move to China with his son to force him to clean up his act, Bob receives a call out of the blue. It’s a stranger called Grace (Barbie Hsu) who claims a mysterious kidnapper (Liu Ye) is keeping her against her will and begs him to save her and her young daughter. Is it just a heartless prank? The detective (Nick Cheung) he tried reporting the call to seems to think so but Bob’s instincts tell him that he may just be the only thing standing between them and a painful death. But does he have the mettle to rise above his own self-centred concerns and risk everything – including his own son – for two people he has never met and who may not even exist?
For more about Connected and the Connected Blu-ray release, see Connected Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 23, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu, Nick Cheung, Ye Liu, Siu-Wong Fan, Siu-Fai Cheung
Director: Benny Chan
» See full cast & crew
Connected Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 23, 2009
Inspired by David R. Ellis' "Cellular" (2004), Benny Chan's "Connected" (2008) is a strange hybrid of a film. It enhances most everything we have come to dislike about Hollywood action films, yet it looks quite fresh. The editing in particular is very well done. Aside from the different cover and disc art, this Blu-ray release, courtesy of US-based distributors Tai Seng Entertainment, appears to be identical to the one distributed by Hong Kong-based Joy Sales. Region-Free.
Bob (Louis Koo, Flash Point), a debt collector on his way to the airport, receives an unusual call on his cell phone – a woman (Barbie Hsu, My So-called Love), who has been abducted and locked at a location she can't identify, begs him to help her out. She also tells Bob not to hang up because she wouldn't be able to call back; the phone she is calling from is broken. At first, Bob does not believe the woman, but then he hears her abductors threatening to kidnap her daughter if she does not comply with their demands.
Bob decides to help. He rushes to pick up the woman's daughter from a local school before her abductors do, but, unfortunately, he ends up being a few minutes late. What follows up is a wild chase that culminates with an adrenalin-infused finale where the bad guys are taught a lesson they won't forget.
Benny Chan's remake of David R. Ellis' Cellular will not disappoint fans of high-octane HK action cinema. This is a well paced, mostly well acted and full of edge-of-your-seat action film with a very unpretentious tone. 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.
Hong Kong veteran Yau Chi Wai's (The Unusual Youth) terrific editing is undoubtedly one of the key reasons why Connected does not frustrate; there is a sense of continuity in this film that never disappears. There are also long portions of its story where Benny Chan's camera is nothing more than a passive observer of the impressive chase scenes Bob and his opponents are involved with. As a result, the film makes it very easy to succumb to its flashy visuals.
Another reason why Connected does not frustrate is its melodrama-free story. Yes, there are a few scenes where one is likely to detect a bit of that sour flavor one could typically find in overpolished Hollywood productions – mostly when the woman is interrogated by her captors - but they are rather short and not overly distracting.
A direct comparison between Benny Chan's Connected and David R. Ellis' Cellular surely places the former ahead of the latter. Because the actors in Connected are mostly unfamiliar, one truly does not know what to expect from them during the film's key scenes; though, admittedly, if one has already seen Cellular then one knows how Connected ends.
To sum it all up, Connected is indeed a very unusual film. I personally am not used to seeing foreign directors going after Hollywood films and remaking them; typically, it is the other way around. What is even more unusual is that Connected eliminates a lot of the extra baggage the main protagonists in Cellular had to carry, and by doing so it dramatically improves the flow of its story. Yes, I know, this probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you now, but take a look at Benny Chan's film if you can; I guarantee you will enjoy it.
Connected Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Benny Chan's Connected arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of US-based distributors Tai Seng Entertainment.
Well, folks, from what I could tell, this release appears to be identical to the one distributed by Joy Sales in Hong Kong -- Tai Seng Entertainment have also used a 25GB for the main feature and placed all of the supplemental features on a separate DVD (only the disc art is somewhat different). Therefore, the comments I made in my review for the HK release apply to this transfer as well – there are some compression issues, mild aliasing, and a bit of edge-enhancement which most of you will notice. As I noted in my review for the HK release, the color-scheme is also very inconsistent - yellows, reds, greens, browns, and blacks do not look natural at all. There are some minor improvements during the second half of Connected, but, overall, this 1080p transfer does not strike me as being particularly healthy. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc which you will be able to play on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Connected Blu-ray, Audio Quality
This Blu-ray disc, courtesy of Tai Seng Entertainment, boasts the same three audio tracks found on the HK release: Cantonese LPCM 5.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 (For the record, the disc does not contain an English dub). Tai Seng Entertainment have kept the same subtitle options as well: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Malaysian and Korean.
Once again, the comments I had for the HK release of Connected remain valid for this US release. I found the Cantonese LPCM track to be quite strong, at times even notably impressive. There is a good dose of activity in the rear channels, a prominent bass and a good balance between the dialog and the music soundtrack. Furthermore, there are absolutely no distortions that I could detect; indeed, the Cantonese LPCM 5.1 track is free of pops, cracks and hissings. On the other hand, given the abundance of action scenes in Connected, you should be able to test the muscles of your audio system (the crash scene in the very beginning of the film sounds terrific). As far as the English subtitles are concerned, it is very easy to tell Tai Seng Entertainment have used the same text file Joy Sales used for their Blu-ray release.
Connected Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
As noted in the tech specs on the top of this page, Connected arrives as a BD/DVD combo. This being said, most of the extras the producers of Connected have supplied appear on the DVD. First is a gallery with deleted scenes (I counted more than ten). Unfortunately, none of them are subtitled in English. A second gallery with alternate scenes is also available, but, again, none of them are subtitled in English. Fortunately, the Making Of does offer optional English subtitles. However, its content is quite generic in nature – random comments from the cast and crew are mixed with footage from the film. The Behind the Scenes featurette offers a lot of raw footage as well in addition to a few sporadic comments from the cast and crew. Unfortunately, it isn't subtitled in English. Finally, the DVD also offers a teaser, two theatrical trailers and a short promo piece for Connected (surprisingly, they are all subtitled in English). On the Blu-ray disc there is a commentary by the director of the film, Benny Chan, but, unfortunately, it is not subtitled in English.
Connected Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tai Seng Entertainment bring to the US Benny Chan's Connected, a film that was already released on Blu-ray in Hong Kong by local distributors Joy Sales. From what I could tell, aside from the different cover work and disc art, the two releases appear to be identical. The US disc, however, could be had for less than twenty dollars!
Connected Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Connected Announced for US Release - March 18, 2009
Tai Seng has announced that they will bring 'Connected' to Blu-ray on April 28th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Based on the Kim Basinger film 'Cellular', this film will be presented in 1080p video accompanied by a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. No special ...
Connected Blu-ray Screenshots
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