2008 HK Cinema finally delivers…
Review by Neo: Having not review a single movie for almost half a year, it is also about time that 2008 Hong Kong cinema, finally come up with something worthy of my time. Perhaps it all came at the right timing, with the end of my 1st CA exam out of the way, it is time for a little break. Watching Connected is like a rare occasion where one can truely enjoy themselves, involve into it and somehow ending up liking it as well. Let’s ignore the fact that this flick is a direct carbon copy of a rare moment of creative script writing from Hollywood (Cellular, starring Jason Stratham). Perhaps, adding to the reason why the current reviewer enjoyed this flick more than he should, must be attributed to the fact that he never seen the original. Still, 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.
It goes without question that the film contains frequent product placement, but seriously, who cares, this is a piece of commerical filmmaking. I would be worried when a Benny Chan film comes with no Pepsi cans, no Tissot watches and Motorola phones. That would probably mean nobody watches HK films anymore. Take any James Bond movie and the amount of product placement by far exceed any commercial HK films. As long as it is not over done like 2007’s Brothers, it is nothing more than a minor distraction. Not with holding, Connected is a well-produced, stylishly and commerically directedl, capitalising on a creative piece of script writing and doing what 90% of Hong Kong movies can’t do, by ending with film with an attachment with the audience.
There is absolutely no reason to be negative about Connected, but then again, I might be the only one that actually liked it from start to finish. There is something about this film that kept be glued to the 40 inches Samsung LCD TV and the amazingly cosy sofa. Maybe, it is Liu Ye, cartoonish menacing performance, the sympathy gained with the constantly crying cute-eyed angel (Barbie Hsu) or perhaps the now acquired taste of Louis Koo’s immensely likeable over-acting (last scene in the excellent family/triad drama, Run Papa Run). Not to forget, the reinvented Nick Cheung, who has now become more than a handful of an actor, whenever he departs from chatting up Wong Jing. So what’s wrong with Connected, well the answer, is that there is nothing wrong, and it is probably as good as it gets, after adding some weight to the current state of HK cinema.
It is strange that the first and last movie, I reviewed are both associated with the Dark Chocolate, but one must admit that his over the top style of acting is of acquired taste. While it was used to emotional and humorous effect in Run Papa Run, here, it is more like allowing the audience to relate to him and the feeling of an accidential hero. There are times, when he breezes through the streets like a maniac crashing cars, people, buildings, concrete, stones and mountains along the way, but it is those little moments that all adds up to why the audience will end up relating to the man, Louis Koo.
Now, it is time to move on to Taiwanese actress, Barbie Hsu or otherwise known as F4’s squeezing teddy bear. It is without doubt that Neo always have a soft spot for cute looking chicks and luckily Barbie provided this and while, she doesn’t entirely convince in opening stages. Luckily she manages to improve and settle into her role and eased into a fitting display by the time the credits is rolling. Next up is a glorified cameo from part time Wong Jing’s best buddy and part time serious Johnnie To addict in Nick Cheung. Neo knows that Cheung has talent and it is no surprise that he somehow manages to steal his limited screen time, and managed to do more than given within the script. While not award winning, but certainly better than adequate. This leads to the best actor in terms of awards and acclaimation in Liu Ye. Liu is a character actor and while he may seem wasted as a cartoonly villainous son of a bitch. Liu manages to outshine most of his co-stars, but somehow still ending up the most lacking. At the end, Liu Ye is a great talent, but sometimes, one must wonder whether this lad would be better suited in period dramas.
All in all, Connected deserved its relatively successful box office run of HK$13 million. While many may be inclined to give Benny Chan the credit for creating such an entertaining piece of action/thriller, due to its carbon copying style or perhaps the overdrought of product placement. 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. Honestly, I had a lot of fun watching this flick and the good thing is that I somehow got involved by it and somewhat emotionally embraced it by the time the credits appear with all those Motorola phones. Love it or hate it, or quite simply just call it stupid, Neo thought the idea and premises is smart and the result is a very satisfying movie experience… (Neo 2008)
I rate it 9/10