Director: Jan de Bont (Had a hand in Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Haunting, Twister, The Hunt for Red October and Die Hard)
Writer: Graham Yost (Had a hand in Broken Arrow and Hard Rain to name a few)
Cast: Neo aka Keanu Reeves, Sandy B aka Sandra Bullock, Dennis The Bomber aka Dennis Hopper
Runtime: An easy hour and 56 minutes (Watch out for the old school five minutes of opening credits)
Release Year: 1994
I am not sure where to start with this movie so I will start in the middle. If you are looking for a mid-90s movie with good old Sandy B, Neo before he met Trinity and a crazy bomber who shouldn’t have been caught at the end of the movie, look no further than Speed. This movie (as far as I am concerned, and in my professional opinion as an armchair movie critic who doesn’t get paid for doing this) starts off with a bang. There is very little time spent only building up the character’s… character as this is done as the movie progresses.
It follows two LAPD cops, Neo and some other guy, (both who seem to work in bomb diffusion and disposal) on the hunt of a lethal bomb maker. They have to thwart his attempts at extorting the city of LA through his acts of terrorism twice. First Hopper the Bomber plants an impossible set of bombs on an elevator. However, Neo and his partner save everyone and assume that Hopper the Bomber dies. Guess what? WRONG!! In true mid-90s fashion, Hopper the Bomber is still alive.
So begins the predictable fixation that Hopper the Bomber has with Neo. Here begins the typical game of cat and mouse that Neo plays with Hopper the Bomber. As impossible as it is, Neo prevails and ensures that Hopper the Bomber loses his head… literally.
The movie also features Sandy B, who puts up a pretty entertaining performance throughout the movie. Starting off as a normal person getting onto a bus, and ending the movie as a normal person with badass tendencies, anger issues, a love at first sight complex, experience in terrorist negotiations, experience driving at high speeds, experience driving a bus and a host of facial expressions that keep the movie ticking over.
The movie has some epic scenes. None more than when they make a bus jump 50 feet. It so happens that the final trap set by Hopper the Bomber, is a speed triggered bomb. A bomb is attached to a bus and arms itself when the bus goes over a certain speed (50 miles per hour) and explodes if the bus goes below 50 miles an hour. In an attempt to stop the bus from exploding, they drive onto a disused section of highway with the hope of avoiding traffic. However, to their horror, the highway has an overpass that has a 50-foot section that is missing. Instead of diverting the bus to a safer section of the highway, they decide to jump it over.
All in all, I give this movie 8.5 headless bad guys out of 10. It is very entertaining and has action that is far fetched but gets away with it simply because Neo and Sandy B are in it. The plot is simple enough to follow, so no matter how drunk you are prior and during the watching of the movie, you will get the gist. The twist and turns in the movie are also nicely signposted, so as to ensure that you don’t end the movie with questions.
The only question you should have is how big is the fuel tank on a bus?