Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Movie Name: Speed
Year of Release: 1994
Director: Jan de Bont
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton, Alan ruck, Glenn Plummer, Richard Lineback, Beth Grant, Hawthorne James, Carlos Carrasco
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"Speed" was Jan de Bont's debut feature as a director, following a long and illustrious career as a director of cinematography (he was the cinematographer for such films as Paul Verhoeven's "Basic Instinct", John McTiernan's "Die Hard" and Ridley Scott's "Black Rain" to name but a few). "Speed" follows the story of Jack Traven, a young and resourceful police detective, who is faced with a monumental challenge. A criminal who has targeted him specifically, places a bomb on a bus - if the bus goes over 50mph it gets activated - after it's active, it can't get below that speed, otherwise it will detonate. Jack gets on that bus with the hopes of deactivating the bomb, but his skills are insufficient to do so, on top of which the city has enumerable obstacles that he needs to avoid in order to save the lives on the bus. One of the passengers, a young and beautiful woman by the name of Annie, tries to help him out.
The screenplay of "Speed" from Graham Yost, though apparently simplistic, without much character development, allowed for the construction of an entertaining action film, due to the clever premise of the narrative. Jan de Bont smartly staged the whole film in real-time - that allows the viewers to closely emphasize with the scenario that is being presented to them. The supporting characters that populate the bus, allow for different levels of interaction with the lead ones, adding some humor and additional backdrop drama, but the central core of the film is indeed the cat and mouse chase that is built between these two antagonizing characters. This is a film that benefits from great action set pieces, as well as actors who are charismatic enough to embody these characters, something that Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock do convincingly (though Sandra Bullock would improve greatly with the years and career choices). This was one of 1994's surprise hits, and a well deserved one. It's an entertaining film always worth watching.