Speed (1994)

 

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Rating: The Good – 78.9
Genre: Action
Duration: 116 mins
Director: Jan De Bont
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock

Perhaps the last great Hollywood action movie of that genre’s greatest era had its most legendary cinematographer Jan DeBont sitting in the director’s chair to produce the ultimate white knuckle experience. Keanu Reeves and the always underrated Jeff Daniels play two LA (SWAT) cops who after foiling a terrorist’s (Dennis Hopper) original attempt to ransom the city must save the passengers of a bus that must stay above 50mph or else it will explode. The scenario is nuts but Hopper’s terrorist is just mad enough to make it seem perfectly reasonable. What is certain though is that the execution is flawless as DeBont treats us to a seemingly endless series of highly original nail-biting road-stunts. As you would expect from the DP behind Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October, the action co-ordination is spectacular and you will feel as though you have been transported into the bus as it crashes through downtown LA.

Reeves excels as the cocky but capable cop, Daniels is strong in support, while Hopper hams it up to an appropriate level as the villain. In addition, Sandra Bullock deservedly made her name by playing the plucky passenger who takes charge of driving the bus during all the bedlam. Speed isn’t perfect as the ending drags on a bit too long while also getting repetitive but these small quibbles aside, the film remains an outstanding piece of action cinema from a time when action films were made by guys with “big, round, hairy cojones”.


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