Speed is a 1994 action adventure film that was written by Graham Yost and stars Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels and the late Dennis Hopper. The film was directed by Jan de Bont.
After helping a man trapped in a hi-rise building, rookie LAPD SWAT officer Jack Traven (Reeves) is informed by an anonymous caller that a bomb is on a bus and is told that if the bus goes 50 MPH or more, the bomb is armed and if the speed drops, the bus will explode. A female passenger named Annie (Bullock) helps Jack to stop the bus from exploding. The mad bomber (Hopper) is identified as Howard Payne, a former Atlanta bomb squad officer who lost his thumb after defusing a bomb and he wants $3.7 million in ransom money.
After the people on the bus have been evacuated onto another bus at LAX, Jack and Annie leave the bus running on its own and the bus crashes into a cargo plane in a fiery explosion. The ransom money is hidden inside a trash can. Howard disguises himself as a police officer and takes Annie hostage on a subway train.
Jack follows after Howard and gets on top of the train. Howard is unaware that Jack is on board until he hears a thud on top of the train and offers Jack the money. As he reaches in for the money, a dye bomb explodes in the bag he's carrying the money in and renders it useless. Howard then tries shooting at Jack until his gun runs out of bullets. Jack and Howard then get into a fight until Jack sees a subway light. Jack than pushes Howard's head up towards the light resulting in him getting decapitated. Jack goes back inside to try and stop the train, but the only problem is the controls on the train are badly damaged. Since the controls are damaged, Jack and Annie decide to ride out the hijacked train through a construction site. The train crashes through a wall onto Hollywood Boulevard. Annie thanks Jack for saving his life and both kiss each other.
Why It Rocks
- A creative story idea and it was one of the many films to have a premise similar to Die Hard.
- Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock have excellent chemistry.
- The film is well shot.
- Some lines are amusing, despite the film having a serious subject matter.
- Likable main characters.
- Good supporting characters like Harry (played by Jeff Daniels) and Mac (Joe Morton).
- Dennis Hopper’s performance as the villain of Howard Payne was interesting and the plot twist is that he used to have a job as a bomb squad officer.
- The final confrontation between Jack and Howard was well written.
- Howard’s death scene was well written as well.
- A happy ending.
Speed currently holds a 93% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 7.92/10 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock." Film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both awarded the film four stars and gave the film a "two enthusiastic thumbs up." Film critic Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times stated in his review "Action directing is a put-up-or-shut-up game, a skill that can't be faked or finessed; even a 10-year-old can tell if you've got it or not. And on the evidence of the invigorating Speed, Jan De Bont has definitely got it." Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock were praised for their performances and the special effects were praised by critics and audiences.
The film opened up at #1 on its opening weekend grossing $14,456,194 domestically. It would later make a total domestic gross of $121,248,145. In foreign countries, the film grossed $229,200,000. Overall, the film made $350,448,145 worldwide against its $30 million budget making it a box office smash.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing, winning the latter two). At the 1995 MTV Movie Awards, Dennis Hopper won the "Best Villain Award" for his role of Howard Payne.