92. Speed - The Part-Time Critic

Monday, March 23, 2009

92. Speed

Speed (1994)
Directed by Jan de Bont

I stood with my parents in front of the Oaks Theatre near the Melbourne Square Mall. We had two choices, Speed or The Lion King. We chose Speed as a family (even though I was eleven, I still felt a little old for a cartoon), and we all had a fantastic film experience. Who would’ve thought that fifteen years later I would rank Speed just a bit above The Lion King in my “Films I Can’t Live Without” List? In hindsight, our family made the better decision.

Speed is a classic action film (even if it really is Die Hard On a Bus). From the superb opening elevator situation to the closing subway jump, this is a classic nail biter. I’ve seen a lot of films since and few are able to match the brake neck pace that Speed attains, while still retaining a few interesting characters. The 1990s contained a plethora of “I’ve got a hostage” films, but this is the crème of the crop.

Speed was a star-making film for Keanu “What’re you gonna do” Reeves and Sandra “Wilcat behind the wheel” Bullock. Both actors have great charisma and create (along with Jeff Daniels) interesting enough performances to carry a film without a true blue plot beyond its basic premise.

For such an engaging and suspenseful movie to come out of what amounts to a lot of driving around is a testament to the performances, editing and directing. For a fun, wholesome (outside of some vulgar language), and exciting time at the movies, you can’t get much better than Speed.

Other Essentials: Classic action score, “The airport, I’ve already seen the airport”, “Shoot the hostage”, and the ridiculous bus jump sequences that works for some strange reason


  1. So you finally decided to post your next one? Took you long enough. j/k :) So I loved the trailer up until "...get ready for rush hour" ...I did not care for that last line. Very good trailer though. Great movie! It was my first introduction (that I recall) to Sandra Bullock who later became one of my favorite actresses. I agree with everything you said! (wonder how many more times I'll be able to say that...) The action and suspense were excellent. I loved the scenes you mentioned...especially the "shoot the hostage" scenes and the guy at the airport. Soooo, what's next?

  2. I remember freeze framing the decapitation scene on the VCR. Oh fond violent childhood memories...

  3. This was a film I owned on VHS as well, one of the very few.