Everything clicked in this 1994 action hit, from the premise (a city bus has to keep moving at 50 mph or blow up) to the two leads (the usually inscrutable Keanu Reeves and the cute-as-a-button Sandra Bullock) to the villa... more »in (Dennis Hopper in psycho mode) to the director (Jan De Bont, who made this film hit the ground running with an edge-of-your-seat opening sequence on a broken elevator). This is the sort of movie that becomes a prototype for a thousand lesser films (including De Bont's lousy sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control), but Speed really is a one-of-a-kind experience almost anyone can enjoy. --Tom Keogh« less
Pretty awesome and original storyline prior to all the unrealistic CGI!
Pop Quiz Hotshot!
A. Ross | New Zealand | 07/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer loops a videotape of him and the guys working while they goof off "I saw this in a movie where there was a bus and it had to keep it's SPEED above 50 and if it's SPEED dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called: The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down!" Even Homer realises the cleverness of Jan De Bont's tautly-directed action thriller.Starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper and Jeff Daniels, Speed is one of those rare films that comes along every now and then that proves to be better than standard fare. Essentially one big extended action scene, the film's frenetic pace makes up for the frequent plot holes. The action never lets up, creating suspense- filled set-pieces and audience excitement. The premise of a bomb on a bus that wil explode if the speed goes below 50 makes for one far-fetched but fun thrill ride.Keanu is the quintessential gum-chewing cool guy action hero Jack Traven who, along with Annie Porter (Bullock) tries not to get blown up by a bomb that retired cop Howard Payne (Hopper) has set on the bus to get money. The entire principal cast are great, especially Hopper, whose character is reminiscent of his crazy bad guy in Red Rock West (1992). With lines like "Poor people are crazy Jack, I'm eccentric", Hopper manages to give a good performance during his rather short screen time. Plus the added quality of the always-good Daniels is first-rate. And Keanu, now best known for The Matrix, is equally cool here. Jan DeBont's direction makes the film a taut, entertaining action ride, and surprisingly, Bullock manages to change from nervy bus passenger to a strong character by the film's conclusion. And the pulse-driven score creates even more tension and excitement. But the film is not perfect, it's predictable at times and things get rather tedious at the end, with yet another gasping of "The track's not finished!" Minor quibbles aside, the action is impressive, and Jan DeBont's visual stylishness gives a really eye-catching look. This action-fest is one of the best.The DVD extras are amazing, with commentaries from De Bont and the crew, extended scenes, Easter Eggs (DVD Credits, Airline Version of Bus Crash), "Inside Speed Featurettes on the location, stunts and visual effects", production Design, the original Screenplay, action Sequence Featurettes on the "Bus Jump" and "Metro Rail Crash", Multi-Angle Shots with Audio, Multi-Stream Storyboards, an interview Archive with Keanu Reeves and the cast, trailers, 11 TV Spots and production notes. Impressive stuff!"
Kelly | Littleton, Colorado | 04/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those rare action/suspense movies that will far surpass your expectations. You will be on the edge of your seat a lot because the suspense build up is done that well. The cast is what impressed me the most. I knew what to expect with the Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves pairing, but the supporting characters were a surprise as they were outstanding. Jeff Daniels is always wonderful on screen. Dennis Hopper was great as the lunatic holding them hostage. "
Solid gold classic from the Hollywood thrill-machine
Libretio | 09/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
(USA - 1994)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision) Theatrical soundtracks: Dolby Digital / DTS
That rarity in modern American cinema - a high concept bubblegum movie which lives up to its own hype and doesn't insult the audience's intelligence - the film offers a three-act scenario (elevator, bus and subway) in which a ruthless terrorist (Dennis Hopper) pits his considerable bomb-making skills against the local SWAT team's finest agents, led by a pumped-up Keanu Reeves (whose career was subsequently launched into orbit, reaching iconic status in the ultra-popular MATRIX series). In one of the commentaries provided for the DVD version, producer Mark Gordon (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and writer Graham Yost (BROKEN ARROW) cheerfully acknowledge the film's one-dimensional characters and obvious plot-holes whilst celebrating the ultra-slick production values and breathtaking action sequences.
And it IS slick: Debut director Jan de Bont (an erstwhile cinematographer, usually associated with Paul Verhoeven) has marshalled a note-perfect creative team on both sides of the camera, turning Yost's modest screenplay into a super-charged thrill-machine, photographed (by Andrzej Bartkowiak) and edited (by John Wright) to perfection, and augmented by some of the best stuntwork and visual effects that money can buy. The cast is dependable and solid: Reeves and Hopper make a formidable virtue of their opposing characters, and leading lady Sandra Bullock 'makes cute' in a career-making performance, while Jeff Daniels (DUMB & DUMBER) and Joe Morton (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET) offer strong support in crucial secondary roles.
NB. To date, no one involved in the production has addressed the narrative parallels between SPEED and the Japanese thriller THE BULLET TRAIN (1975), in which a terrorist bomb is primed to explode on board a packed commuter train if it falls below a certain speed. It's possible that SPEED was written and produced in complete ignorance of the earlier film, but the two scenarios share uncomfortable similarities. "
Blu-ray edition is superb value
Dr. Chuang Wei Ping | Singapore | 10/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blu-rays are about picture and sound quality. A review of Blu-ray edition of an old 1994 movie should be addressing the issue of added entertainment value when upgrading to the Blu-ray edition, not the story itself, which we are all familiar with.
A dvd of this movie cost a bomb back in the day. It has been shown countless times on free to air TV. I saw this movie in a theatre way back in 1994. Nostalgia made me buy Blu-rays of this movie along with Blu-ray Black Hawk Down, both at the same price. Naturally, I saw Black Hawk Down first, reserving Speed for later.
I totally underestimated SPEED. With the Blu-ray, (I hook up my TV to Bose 901 speakers) I was transported back to the cinema hall. The sound from the Blu-ray was awesome. Every explosion, collision, aeroplane, helicopter had a deep and tight bass sensurround sound. The bass on my speakers were truly put to the test. The deep rumblings of the bus and the sound of the crashing of the bus were true to life. Sounds were moving to and fro Left and Right speakers positioning the bus, helicopters and gunshots correctly. This made the Blu-ray worth every cent. The dialogue was crisp. I switched off the sub-titles and just enjoyed the whole Blu-ray performance, even though I had seen this movie on Full Screen TV free so many times before. With Blu-ray, this appeared to be a different movie altogether.
I cannot complain about the picture quality, although others might expect a better transfer. I can see every wrinkle on Dennis Hopper's face and the individual hairs on every actor's head in close-ups. For a 1994 movie, that is good enough for me. Colour saturation was good. The picture quality surpasses that of many Blu-rays which cost a lot more, and which are of more recent vintage.
Probably one of the most well spent $12.99 (price at the time of this review). The Blu-ray release surpasses expectations. Black Hawk Down has a more sombre theme, but somehow, the gunfire and helicopter crashes sounded a little disappointing. I expected better from Blu-ray Black Hawk Down and for value added by the Blu-ray edition. Blu-ray Black Hawk Down was better than the dvd, but it did not have the massive improvement Blu-ray brought to SPEED. The acoustics in SPEED sounded better than the recent Fast and Furious series of Blu-rays, to me anyway.
I am not in the position to comment about technical specifications, but for a person who has been disappointed by a lot of Blu-ray upgrades, SPEED added so much more enjoyment for such a small investment.
If Blu-rays reviews ignored the content and were rated according to "How much more did the Blu-ray edition add to your enjoyment of the movie compared to the dvd version", I would say SPEED BD would rank in the top few. Gladiator Blu-ray, on the other hand, would rank in the bottom few (if you ignored the 5 star contents).
And if you do not have a copy of SPEED, go straight for the affordable Blu-ray version of SPEED. I experienced a ressurection of a movie I once wrote off as "old". Excellent value for money."
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 07/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the film that made Keanu Reeves a bankable action film star. Of course, it was overdue anyway, based on his stellar performance in Point Break a few years before, but this was the one that lit him up like a Christmas tree on the pantheon of Hollywood somebodies. The plot is simple yet imaginative; an ex-cop demolition expert with a grudge decides to put a busful of hostages at risk by rigging it to explode if its speed goes below 50 miles an hour. So place these people (including a reluctant Sanda Bullock as the drafted designated bus driver), add Keanu as the cop trying to keep the busful of civilians straight and catch the bad guy (played well by Dennis Hopper)and Jeff Daniels playing the other cop trying to figure out the demolition angle from back at the station, and you have all the ingredients for a terrific and very entertaining movie. Which, of course, it is. It is unusual, very well acted, and the action sequences simply steal the movie. There is very little down time in the movie, and like the early Jaws, one finds oneself reeling from the action as it goes literally from one situation to another. The way the action scenes are choreographed and plotted makes one want to run for cover as the bus screams through a bevy of hairy circumstances one would think are going to doom it and the passengers to a fiery death. Suffice it to say that this is well worth your time and money, and that this new DVD version has a lot of added features regarding the film that make it even more fun to enjoy. Sit down and get your popcorn ready folks! The film is about to roll. enjoy!"