A plot that on paper seemed silly, but when on screen it is a pretty good action film. Released in 1994, Speed was a surprise hit to critics and audiences, winning two Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Mixing. While I don’t think it is the best action movie of all time, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
LAPD Swat officers Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) prevent a $3 million hostage attempt by a bomber named Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), who seems to commit suicide rather than go to jail. A few months later Jack witnesses a bus explosion with people inside and receives a call from the not so dead Payne. There is another bus rigged to explode if it drives less than 50 miles per hour or passengers leave the bus, unless he is paid $3.7 million. Jack gets to the already moving bus and explains what is going on to the rightly so freaked out passengers and bus driver. Unfortunately things get worse when a small time criminal, think Jack is there for him, accidentally fires his gun and shoots the bus driver. Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) who only takes the bus because of a suspended license, takes the wheel. From then on to say it is one heck of a ride would be a gross understatement.
This was a pretty good and surprisingly well written action movie. Keanu Reeves is fantastic as Jack in every way possible, from his good looks to how his character is. Sandra Bullock, one of my favorites, did such a great job as Annie a woman literally thrown into the situation and well she takes it way better than I would have. Her chemistry with Reeves is excellent, they are very good together on screen. Jeff Daniels as well is great, but I want to talk about Payne for a moment. While there is no question how great Dennis Hopper is as an actor, and I thought he did great with this role, I’ve always had one question about Payne: what is his motive? Most of the villains I watch have a motive to what they do, or they are just crazy. While there is no question how crazy Payne is, in similar situations there is always a motive and it is never addressed on screen. Kinda makes you wonder what is the pain behind Payne, I am sorry I had to say that. If you like action movies then I would put Speed on the recommendation list. Might not be the best, but it is far from the worst (unlike the very poor sequel which I am never going to watch.)