1994, Movie, R, 115 mins


Acclaimed cinematographer Jan De Bont's directing debut is a mindless, implausible, and thoroughly gripping adventure movie. SPEED parlays its crackerjack premise into a satisfying but instantly forgettable rollercoaster ride of explosions, car crashes, and awesome hardware.

Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) is an irreverent LA cop who insists on doing things his way; he and his partner Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) specialize in defusing bombs. They rescue an elevator full of people from mad bomber-extortionist Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), but their triumph turns sour when he returns with an even more audacious plan. There's a bomb on a city bus. Once the bus goes over 50mph, the bomb is armed. If it then drops below 50mph, it blows up. If any passengers are taken off, it blows up. If Payne doesn't get his $3.7 million ransom, it blows up. Jack must figure out how to rescue the commuters--including spunky Annie (Sandra Bullock), who takes over driving duty when the bus driver is shot--and get Payne, all before 11 a.m.

SPEED lives up to its title, delivering carefully crafted action/adventure thrills without ever breaking out of the genre rut. Though the film runs out of steam near the end, as long as the action stays on the bus, it's thrilling. De Bont deploys helicopters, motorcycles, police cars, and SWAT teams with aplomb; Reeves, except for the rare occasions when he's called upon to do more than flex his muscles or utter terse one-liners, makes an appealing action hero. leave a comment

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