Cellular is a 2004 American Action-Crime Thriller film directed by David R. Ellis and starring Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, Jason Statham, and William H. Macy. The screenplay was written by Chris Morgan, Larry Cohen, and J. Mackye Gruber (uncredited). The film is loosely based on the Rampart scandal, as it revolves around corrupted cops. The film was later remade as a Hong Kong thriller in 2008 as Connected.
The film opens with Jessica Martin, a high school biology teacher, talking to her son Ricky while dropping him to the school bus. After she returns home, assailants enter her home through the back door, kill her housemaid, kidnap her, and confine her in the attic of their. Ethan Greer, the gang leader, smashes the attic's telephone to prevent her from contacting anyone. She has no idea who the kidnappers are or what they want. She pieces together the wires of the broken phone and randomly makes a connection. She reaches the cell phone of Ryan, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Chloe, for being irresponsible. He believes the call is a joke, but Jessica persuades him to go to the police. At the police station, Desk Sergeant Mooney tells him to go to the detectives on the fourth floor. He begins to lose the signal in the stairwell, so he turns back to avoid losing the connection. Meanwhile, Ethan returns to the safe house and asks Jessica about something she doesn't know. When Jessica tells him that she doesn't know, he tells her that he is going to get her son.
Overhearing them, Ryan realizes how serious the situation is. After Ethan leaves, she tells Ryan to reach her son's school before they do. He is too late and her son is kidnapped. Ryan hijacks a security officer's car and gives chase. Because his cell phone battery is dying, he drives to a shop for a charger. After being repeatedly redirected from counter to counter, he uses a gun from the security vehicle to hold up the store and get the charger. Sergeant Mooney, meanwhile, decides to check on the kidnapping claim. He uses the Department of Motor Vehicles records to find Jessica's address, but when he comes to her house, a woman meets him, telling him that she is Jessica and everything is fine. Believing it to be a false alarm, he leaves. It is revealed that the woman is Dana Bayback, an accomplice of the kidnappers. Ethan returns to the safe house and asks Jessica for the location of a place called "The Left Field", where her husband, Craig, was. He reveals that he has Ricky and threatens to kill him if Jessica does not tell him what "The Left Field" means. She tells him that "The Left Field" is a bar at the Los Angeles International Airport.
As Ethan leaves, she tells Ryan that they have gone to get her husband. A cross-connection between phone lines causes Ryan to grab a nearby lawyer's cell phone as well as his car after his own is destroyed. Jessica urges him to find her husband, and at the airport, he tries to stop the kidnappers by planting the gun under one of their jackets. The gun trips the alarm and security intervenes, but the kidnappers flash police badges and apprehend Craig. Ryan and Jessica realize that Ethan and his gang are police officers. After viewing a news report, Mooney identifies Ryan and calls Jessica's home. When he hears the voicemail greeting, he notices that Jessica's voice on the answering machine is different from that of the woman he met. Craig is brought into the attic and is forced to reveal the location of a videotape. He tells them that it is in a bank safe deposit box. Ethan and his friends, Dimitri and Deason, go with Craig while another kidnapper stands guard. Ryan also reaches the bank, and when the kidnappers retrieve the video camera, he grabs it and flees to the roof.
However, he accidentally drops the cell phone off the roof, smashing it to pieces. He manages to escape in a taxi, and while watching the videotape learns that Craig accidentally shot footage of LAPD Detective Ethan, Mad Dog, Dimitri, Bayback, Deason, and Jack Tanner, a friend of Mooney, robbing and murdering drug dealers. Ryan steals the lawyer's car again from the impound lot and manages to retrieve his own cell phone. Mooney returns to the Martin residence, where Bayback shoots at him, injuring him. He retaliates and kills her but learns, to his dismay, that she was a cop. Back at the safe house, Mad Dog notices a light on one of the buttons on the phone, picks up the receiver and learns that Jessica has been trying to contact help. Angered, he heads upstairs and attacks her, but Jessica kills him by cutting his brachial artery, causing him to bleed to death in seconds. She attempts to escape with her son, but Ethan returns with Craig hostage and stops her. Before Ethan can do anything, Ryan uses his cell phone's memory to contact Ethan and makes a deal directly over the phone: the videotape in exchange for the Martin family.
Upon learning of the meeting, Tanner convinces Mooney to go so that he can identify Ryan. The deal goes down at the Santa Monica Pier. Ryan tries to handle it his way in disguise, but his ex-girlfriend accidentally exposes him, after which Mooney is able to identify him as the young man who met him at the station earlier. While Tanner sends Dimitri to help Mooney get needed medical attention, he takes Ryan to Ethan. Ethan destroys the video recording and Tanner radios the order to kill the Martins, although Deason in the van suggests they wait until they get to the safe house. However, Mooney overhears the radio transmission. Ryan escapes, following a distraction by his friend Chad; Mooney overpowers Dimitri and handcuffs him on the stairs. Tanner and Ethan confront Ryan in a boathouse, where Ryan knocks out Tanner, but Ethan beats him up until Mooney intervenes. After a brief chase, Ryan notices that Ethan has circled behind Mooney, and helps Mooney by calling Ethan's cell phone. The ring of the cell betrays Ethan's position, and Mooney promptly shoots him to death. As Ethan falls, he looks dumbfoundedly at Ryan, and then at Ryan's cell phone, the "weapon" that killed him.
Meanwhile, Jessica manages to strangle Deason with her handcuff chain from the rear of their van, then frees her husband and son. But Deason was merely stunned, and aims his gun at them. Ryan intervenes and smashes him with the van doors until he is dead. While Ryan and Mooney are being treated by medics, Tanner is also exposed, because Ryan had copied the video recording onto his cell phone, and the Martin family is set free. Jessica finally gets to meet the man who has risked his life saving her and her family. Ryan, who is reunited again with Chloe, jokingly requests that she never call him again.
- Kim Basinger as Jessica Martin
- Chris Evans as Ryan Hewitt
- Jason Statham as Ethan Greer
- William H. Macy as Sergeant Bob Mooney
- Eric Christian Olsen as Chad
- Matt McColm as Deason
- Noah Emmerich as Jack Tanner
- Brendan Kelly as Mad Dog
- Eric Etebari as Dimitri
- Valerie Cruz as Dana Bayback
- Richard Burgi as Craig Martin
- Jessica Biel as Chloe
- Caroline Aaron as Marilyn Mooney
- Adam Taylor Gordon as Ricky Martin
- Dat Phan as Asian Face Artist
- Rick Hoffman as Lawyer
The film has had gross receipts of $32,003,620 in the U.S. and Canada and $24,419,067 in international markets for a total of $56,422,687 worldwide.
Reviews of Cellular were mixed, currently holding an approval rating of 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly called the film "pure chase-thriller excitement", and Claudia Puig of USA Today called it a "well-paced action film in the vein of Speed".
Template:Anchor A novelization of the film was written by Pat Cadigan and released in October, 2004 by Black Flame. Cellular was released on DVD along with the VHS format on January 18, 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray on July 17, 2012.
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