Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action,Adventure “Speed” is a real adrenaline rush.

“Speed” is a real adrenaline rush.

 

“Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”

The relative definition of a true “popcorn movie” is a movie that, despite any obvious or apparent flaws, is still a fun, thrilling and exciting piece of cinema. “Speed” fits that description perfectly. It didn’t deserve to win any major awards (although it did for Sound and Sound editing), and won’t be sampled by any script-writing instructors in any film schools, but it is an example of why a fun action movie can still succeed, and not just at the box office. The film stars Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven, a police officer who assists in stopping a madman’s (Dennis Hopper) bomb plot in a Los Angeles skyscraper, along with his partner (Jeff Daniels). Seeking his revenge, and (of course) a big pay-day, the bomber returns and attaches a bomb to a metro bus and convinces Jack to board it and help him negotiate for his ransom. Driving the bus is Annie (Sandra Bullock), an adorable, but tempered passenger who has lost her driver’s license (ironically) for speeding, and is forced to drive the bus after the actual driver is shot in a meaningless scuffle after Jack boards.

The dozen or so other passengers are mostly lost in the background, with the exception of when the script needs a few of them to assist Jack. Mostly the movie concentrates on the charming chemistry of Jack and Annie, beginning immediately with there quick back and forth humor. Jack asks Annie, “Miss, can you handle this bus?” and Annie sarcastically answering, “Oh sure, its just like driving a really big pinto.” Perhaps my favorite moment between them, aside from the breathtaking way in which the two escape the bus, is after Jack has climbed back into the bus after nearly being run over after inspecting the bomb. Annie smells something and Jack tells her its gas and that the bus is now leaking fuel. Annie quickly says “What, you thought you needed another challenge or something?”

Director Jan de Bont keeps the film moving at an electric pace, as the bus and its passengers encounter one problem after another trying to keep the bus above 50 mph. The solutions to the problems are far-fetched at times, such as the bus flooring it and jumping successfully over a 50 foot gap in the overpass, but that is actually apart of the movies charm. Trying to guess what Jack will do next to get the bus out of danger is amazingly fun, and adds to the already high level of excitement while watching it. The stunts are fun, the action fast paced, and the acting is as good as it needs to be to service this type of summer action movie. A real fun ride…no pun intended.


 

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