If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Remakes are pretty much common practice for Hollywood these days. If it's not classic horror films they're adapting then it's foreign movies. Asian films get remade the most (The Ring and The Departed are just two examples) so it was only a matter of time before the tables were turned. It's finally happened with Connected, an adaptation of the Chris Evans/Jason Statham thriller Cellular
Now, "Cellular" is a movie that I actually like quite a bit. It's a fun, fast paced little film that never lets up for a second. It was directed by David R. Ellis of "Snakes On A Plane" fame (or is that infamy?) and I still believe it to be his best work. If "Cellular" had one weakness, it was that it was a little too silly for its own good. The director wanted to keep things light, so he jammed odd bits of comedy in with the action and suspense, and it didn't quite gel. "Connected" manages to avoid this and plays things (mostly) straight and comes off as better film for it. Sure, there are some funny moments, but they actually fit here. It also manages to keep the viewer on the edge of his/her seat while following all of the plot points of the original movie, which isn't an easy task.
Of course, little changes help too. The kidnapped woman is an engineer here, so her getting the phone to work actually makes more sense than it did in the original movie. The hero (Evans in "Cellular") goes from being a slacker trying to impress his ex-girlfriend to a debt collector who has one more chance to prove himself to his young son before he gets the call for help. In fact, I cared more about this guy than Evans. A change of location also helps makes things feel different as well.
The acting is all good. Every actor does a fine job replacing their American counterparts. The only weak spot is the head villain. Jason Statham this guy ain't. Does "Connected" have any flaws? Just one. A car chase is extended from the original and goes on way too long. In fact, it's the film's only silly moment.
Before I end this, I need to make one thing clear. The title of this review and the opening paragraph are meant for humorous effect. The Hong Kong filmmakers weren't trying to outright steal a Hollywood film as some sort of revenge. They truly love the source material (the fact it's a remake is the first thing we see during the end credits) and wanted to give it the best treatment possible. They succeeded.