Written by Larry Cohen and Chris Morgan Directed by David R. Ellis
I’m not a huge action movie fan. For the most part they end up driving me crazy with contrived plots that don’t make sense and a story that exists only as a poorly thought-out link between what the Director thinks are impressive action sequences.
That said, having watched Cellular, I found that it was a film that I liked better than I thought I would.
Ryan (portrayed by Chris Evans) is a typical man with a bit of a selfish streak. While doing an errand to try to impress his ex-girlfriend Chloe (portrayed by Jessica Biehl) so she will take him back, he receives a call on his cell phone. On the other end is Jessica Martin (portrayed by Kim Basinger). She claims to have been abducted with her son and managed to piece together a phone to make this call and ended up connected to Ryan. She begs him for help.
Of course, he does and the rest of the film is a race against the clock as Ryan tries to help her and her son. There are obstacles such as his cell phone battery dying and others that serve to keep the suspense level elevated throughout the film, right up until the last moment.
Cellular compares to Speed in many ways and rightfully so. It’s got a fairly inconceivable plot that puts ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. While it’s believable that Ryan could actually get a call like this, his ability to surmount some of the obstacles in his path the way he does isn’t. It’s a film that calls the audience to suspend disbelief and whether or not you can will decide whether you enjoy the film or not.
The performances are good, especially Chris Evans’ which is really what carries Cellular. I give him credit for that as the role is a bit more than that of Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four and he did a good job drawing me into the character and making me root for him. I’ve never been a particular fan of Kim Basinger’s, but she handles her role here quite well considering most of the time she’s acting to a phone in an attic.
The weakest role was William H. Macy as a cop ready to retire who is drawn into the story. I normally love Macy in just about everything he does, the problem here was the way the character was written. It wasn’t bad enough that it was written as a cliche with the character being on the verge of retirement but secretly having misgivings, but the added storyline of him wanting to open a spa with his wife just came off poorly and unconvincing.
The action sequences are good, even if they are somewhat predictable. There are little surprises with the story, either. I knew what “big surprises” were coming before it was revealed on the screen.
On DVD there are some nice extras if you enjoy them. The commentary was good but not all that enlightening. I did like the featurette on the real scandal that inspired a bit of the story.
Cellular is not a bad film at all, and I found I liked it and got into the story quite a bit more than I expected. It’s something most people can enjoy at least once, especially if you like films like this in general.
• Commentary with Director David Ellis, Writers Larry Cohen, and Chris Morgan • Deleted/Alternate Scenes • Documentary: Calling Out • Documentary: Dialing Up Cellular • Documentary: Code of Silence: Inside the Rampart Scandal • Theatrical Trailer