Cellular Information

Cellular is a 2004 American 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 (who also scripted Phone Booth) and J. Mackye Gruber (not credited).


The film opens with Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), a high school biology teacher, talking to her son Ricky. After she returns home, mysterious assailants enter her home through the back door, kill her housemaid, kidnap her, and confine her in the attic of their safe house. Ethan Greer (Jason Statham), 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 (Chris Evans), who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Chloe (Jessica Biel), 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 (William H. Macy) 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. Ryan, who overhears them, is now convinced that the kidnapping is real. After Ethan leaves, she tells Ryan to reach her son's school before they do. Unfortunately, he is too late, and her son is kidnapped. Ryan hijacks a security officer's car and gives chase. Because his cell phone's 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.

Sgt. 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 (Valerie Cruz), 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 in 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 (Rick Hoffman) cell phone as well as his car after his 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 soon 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 (Eric Etebari) and Deason (Matt McColm), go with Craig while another kidnapper stays on guard. Ryan also reaches the bank, and when the kidnappers retrieve the video camera, Ryan 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 Det. Ethan, Mad Dog (Brendan Kelly), Dimitri, Bayback, Deason, and Jack Tanner (Noah Emmerich), 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, too. Meanwhile, Mad Dog tries to call Ethan on the house phone line, but he stumbles on the phone conversation. 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 finger him. 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 (Eric Christian Olsen), 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 with his superior fighting skills until Mooney intervenes. After a brief cat and mouse game, Ryan, wounded, notices that Ethan has circled behind Mooney, and helps Mooney by calling Ethan's cell phone (revealing that Ryan's phone somehow was not water damaged after his jumping into the river). The ring of the cell betrays Ethan's hiding place, and Mooney promptly shoots him dead. As Ethan falls, he looks dumbfoundedly at Ryan ... and then at Ryan's cell phone, the "weapon" that got him killed.

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's only jokingly requests that she never call him again. They laugh and the film ends.



Cellular was filmed in Southern California, most notably in Santa Monica, Westwood, Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles and West Los Angeles. There were a few directorial errors throughout the film that stumped viewers. Peter Sarsgaard turned down the role of Ethan (and would portray a similar role a year later in Flightplan), making this film Jason Statham's first film as a villain.


Box office

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.

Critical response

Reviews of Cellular were mixed, currently holding an approval rating of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly caled the film "pure chase-thriller excitement", and Claudia Puig of USA Today called it a "well-paced action film in the vein of Speed".

Kim Basinger was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress but lost to Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill Vol. 2.

Home media

A novelization of the film was written by Pat Cadigan and released in October, 2004 by Black Flame. Cellular was released worldwide in widescreen on DVD along with the VHS format on January 18, 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray disc on July 17, 2012.


Main article: Connected (film)
The film inspired a 2008 Chinese language remake by director Benny Chan. The film, Connected, stars Barbie Hsu and Louis Koo in the Basinger and Evans roles respectively.

A Bollywood remake of this film, called Speed, was released in India in 2007 starring Urmila Matondkar, Zayed Khan and Sanjay Suri. Despite the ensemble cast, the film did not succeed like the original.

A version in Tamil, Vegam, was released in 2007.

The movie was remade in Telugu as Deepavali.

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