In order to foil a terrorist plot, an FBI agent undergoes facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a criminal mastermind, who murdered his only son. The plan turns sour when the criminal wakes up prematurely and seeks revenge.
Extortionist bomber's elevator plan backfires, so he rigs a bomb to a Los Angeles city bus. The stipulation is: once armed, the bus must stay above 50 mph to keep from exploding. Also if any passengers try and get off, the bomber will detonate the bomb.Written by
In one of the scenes in the bus, a camera man is visible in the convex mirror of the rear doors stairwell. See more »
Hey, this area's restricted.
Oh, hi. Yeah, I know. They called me down here. Some of this wiring got screwed up.
Nobody called it down to me. I'm going to have to see a work order.
Yeah, just a second. There you are.
[stabs workman in the ear with a screwdriver]
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For the German video version, the scene where the woman is run over by the bus was brightened using a color filter. The DVD features the normal version as seen in cinemas. See more »
Speed is one of my favorite action movies of all time, just a notch below contemporaries like Terminator 2 and Die Hard. The premise is so simple that it's almost a parody of movie pitches (Homer Simpson's line was "I saw this movie about a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode! I think it was called 'The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down'."). Fortunately this film came to be much better than the sum of its parts, and it's deservedly remembered as one of the most entertaining films of the 90s.
What distinguishes Speed is its humanity, due in no small part to the character of Annie (Sandra Bullock). The best example of this is the moment when Annie, while driving the bus, thinks she has struck a baby stroller. She becomes so distraught that she lets go of the steering wheel, never mind the fact that she is in charge of driving a bomb-laden bus through the L.A. suburbs. It's one of several moments that draw us into the film by helping us identify with the characters, and it's all the more elegant for its simplicity. This movie isn't complex, but it doesn't claim to be.
There is a certain irony that Speed succeeds so well on a human level, since Jan de Bont is not generally considered an "actor's director". He started as a cinematographer, and even when he talks about directing he discusses technical aspects and seldom mentions working with actors. Nowhere was this more evident than Speed 2, which pretty much killed his directorial career. Given that, it's all the more remarkable what he pulled off in the original Speed, as everything seemed to come together for him.
The overall performances really serve this picture well. Keanu is at his best (which is to say, mediocre), Sandra launched a career based on this movie, and Dennis Hopper did a wonderful job as the sardonic villain. Plus he has one of my favorite bad-guy lines of all time (Traven: "You're crazy." Payne: "Poor people are crazy, Jack. I'm eccentric.").
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