Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted/alternate scenes with optional
director commentary. Commentary with director David Ellis and
writers Larry Cohen and Chris Morgan. Featurette 'Celling Out'
– a look at cellphones in today’s culture. Featurette
'Dialing Up Cellular' – making of the film. Featurette 'Code
of Silence: Inside the Rampart Scandel'. Theatrical trailer.
PLAUSIBILITY has very little to do with the high-concept action
thriller, Cellular, but for all of its failings, the film still
makes a very strong connection with audiences.
Chris Evans stars as unlikely hero, Ryan, a 'self-centred' beach
boy who would rather try and patch things up with his girlfriend
than contemplate any of life's bigger challenges.
Yet, when he inadvertently answers a random phone call on his
cellular, he finds himself thrust into a life and death struggle
that he is ill-equipped to deal with.
The caller in question is Kim Basinger's science teacher, Jessica
Martin, who has been kidnapped by Jason Statham's gang of thugs,
and who has managed to call out by pieceing together the smashed
remains of a phone in the room she is being held.
Needless to say, Ryan is reluctant to believe her, let alone
help, but gradually comes to realise the magnitude of what he
is being asked and goes to the police.
Despite receiving a sympathetic ear from William H Macy's retiring
officer, Mooney, however, Ryan's attempts to get the police to
help prove fruitless, and he is forced to run about the city attempting
to help Jessica in whatever way he can.
This involves dashing to Jessica's
son's school, in a bid to prevent him from being kidnapped, and
then to the airport, to prevent the same fate befalling her husband,
which makes him as big a target for the police's attentions as
the kidnappers themselves.
An unlikely source of help is at hand, however, in the form of
Office Mooney, who feels compelled to investigate the kidnap claim,
even though he is supposed to be helping his wife set up the day
spa they are hoping to retire to.
As unlikely and improbable as this whole premise sounds, the
joy of watching Cellular comes from seeing just how increasingly
absurd proceedings become.
Ryan must keep Jessica on the phone at all times, no matter how
desperate his own plight becomes, and is forced to hold up mobile
phone shops at gunpoint, and car-jack rich, mouthy lawyers, the
more desperate he becomes to help.
Yet the film always realises its own limitations and frequently
tosses in plenty of laughs, while maintaining the tension throughout.
Evans makes an engaging hero, who consistently remains one step
behind the kidnappers in spite of his best efforts, while Basinger
makes a believable transition from terrified victim to brave fighter,
who refuses to give in to her captors.
But it is William H Macy who makes the biggest impression, trading
well on his unlikely action hero persona, and turning what could
have been a fairly hum-drum role into another personal tour-de-force.
Former stunt-man turned director, David R Ellis, competently
handles the action sequences, too, tossing in plenty of car chases,
gun battles and explosions to keep things lively.
Like Phone Booth and Speed
before it, Cellular stretches its flimsy premise to breaking point,
but does so in such an entertaining fashion that you should be
having too much fun to notice.
And, as Friday night popcorn fare goes, it probably rates as
one of the best examples of its kind. So forget any hang-ups you
may have about the premise and indulge yourself.