A look back at how Speed still keeps up with its ultimate action!
Released in 1994 starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock and the late Dennis Hopper, this was the second film released about a mad bomber released in 1994, the other one was Blown Away, this one is better.
This Die Hard on a bus thriller stars Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven an LAPD detective who in the opening of the film foils the plot of mad bomber Howard Payne who has hijacked an elevator with 30 people in a LA building, the scene is exhilarating from the start and Speed has its foot on the pedal and does not take it off until the very end.
Howard Payne returns and informs Jack that he has placed a bomb on a bus and if the bus reaches 50 mph the bomb will arm itself and if the bomb falls below 50 mph the bomb detonates, such a simple plot but it works and this is where the action is centered.
Die Hard… but on a bus!
Speed is a classic action from the 90’s filled with all the ingredients of a classic 90s action movie, explosions, suspense, great score and sly humour. Speed works thanks to great performances and an impressive directorial debut from Jan De Bont who started as a cinematographer and worked on such hits as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Hunt for Red October and so forth and would direct another exhilarating film in 1996 Twister.
As I said the bulk of the action takes place on the bus and this could have been over exhausted but it works thanks to a diverse range of passengers on the bus who all bring something unique to the narrative, including an excellent scene stealing Sandra Bullock as Annie a passenger who has had a driving licence revoked and handles the driving like a pro. The bus racing through the streets of Los Angeles during rush hour brings a whole lot of thrills and spills and edge of your seat action.
Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper Shine
Howard Payne is brilliantly played by Dennis Hopper, the problem with his character is that his motives are not made clear in the movie why did he plant that bomb in that particular building and bus, but you know what the film is so exciting you don’t really care.
This is one of Keanu Reeves’s best roles next Neo, John Wick and Johnny Utah in Point Break, his character does not say much and those types of roles suit Keanu’s acting ability and Sandra Bullock is incredibly like-able as Annie and the rest of the supporting cast from Jeff Daniels and the bus passengers are on top form, great score.
But, How Ultimate is it?
Speed has brilliant action set pieces and stunts, from the bus crashing into an airplane to the finale on the train it is a shame that they do not make films like this anymore, you can watch this time and time again and still be engaged time and time again and Speed is an Oscar winning film also winning two Oscars for Best Sound and Editing, the writing is also crisp from Graham Yost who would write Broken Arrow and another underrated film Hard Rain.
Speed is a great film, loaded with tension, humour and lots of energy and they don’t make films like this anymore, which is a shame, what is shameful is the sequel that they made in 1997.
MR P grew up in London has been a film fanatic for as long as he can remember always watching films and grew up watching hi-octane blockbusters from the 80s and 90s like Terminator, Commando, predator, Tango and Cash, Double Impact, Beverly Hills Cop, Die Hard, Speed and so many more. Mr P decided to turn his love for watching films into a hobby by creating his own YouTube channel – The Mr P Film Review!