20 years after its release I still hold Speed dearly to my heart. It’s one of those event movies that had everybody talking about during the time of release and is somewhat of a modern day action movie classic. Watching it after having not seen it for over a decade or so brings back fond memories and made me realize that the best action movies were probably made in the late 80’s and early 90’s; before CGI took over. Because that’s one of the most thrilling aspects, aside from some green screen a lot of the effects are practical and therefor more realistic than say a Legolas fighting scene in The Hobbit movies.
Speed, for those who born after 1990, is a movie about a mad bomber who rigs a bus with explosives set to activate when going above 50mph and exploding when the bus goes under. Keanu Reeves plays Police Officer Jack Traven who is responsible for dismantling the bomb and getting the bus and its passengers back to safety.
What’s fun is how Speed is actually three short movies rolled into one. First of all is the 20 minute prologue in which Dennis Hopper’s bomber tries to blow up an elevator only to see his plans foiled by Jack and his partner Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels). He the tries to exact revenge by bombing the bus and having Keanu board it. After the whole bus sequence there’s a 20 minute finale on a subway train.
The strength of Speed is the high octane script it has. There’s rarely a time to catch your breath. Especially when the bus comes into play and has to be kept up at at least 50mph in morning traffic. These scenes require a lot of suspension of disbelief but the movie still works.
But not everything holds up well 20 years later. There are some scenes which are goofy like the moment Dennis Hopper’s character supposedly blows himself up. Aside from that this is a really enjoyable movie.