Speed Movie Review
20 Jun 2010   Reviews

Speed Movie Review

The story of this movie is as fast told as the title of this post written: you take one bomber with a wish for a slightly bigger banking account, one cop who wants to prevent that from happening and a bus which takes the can for this romantic drama. Mix, stir and you got yourself the action hit of the summer of 1994.

After I watched Speed ages ago I am more than surprised how fast this movie is, even when you judge it by today’s standards. I really don’t want to know how big of a revelation that movie had to be for movie goers of the last millennium when the bus hit the silver screen for the first and the last time.

While Die Hard or other action flicks very often take their time and slow down or simply show us a close up of the suffering main character, Speed doesn’t do any of this. The only exception are the scenes between big fat explosion number one (Dennis Hopper ends up in smoke) and big fat explosion number two (some no name bus gets called to heaven). And funnily enough, those are the exact scenes that lack. More about that later (in other words: two paragraphs).

Can you *hick* tell me, why we're *hick* doing this scene? *Sound of falling tree while Jeff Bridges kisses the ground*

Can you *hick* tell me, why we're *hick* doing this scene? *Sound of falling tree is played while Jeff Bridges kisses the ground*

Speed’s plot really doesn’t waste a second and sprints from one action moment to another. For example, Keanu Reeve’s character barely makes it onto the bus (of course with a little help from our beloved afrocool guy), only to then see the open end of a barrel. Of course, seconds later the bus driver gets shot so that our beloved Sandra Bullock also has something to do. Shortly after that they almost have to stop in a traffic jam and so on. I have to admit that I love such action intense stuff (see From Paris with Love) so I had a blast watching it.

It’s clear that with so much action and so much turns the characters feel bland. It’s also clear the whole plot feels so constructed and hence impossible in reality as the face of Pamela Anderson.

Okay, the bland characters might be a little bit of an understatement. Let me be crystal clear here: not for one second did I start to like anyone of them. Especially the character Jack played by Keanu Reeves. Almost everyone in Speed is way too stiff, too boring and with way not enough background information. Moreover, Speed has such an amazing amount of lack of humor from almost every corner that in moments I was so starved for a cool one-liner like a zombie in dire need for some tasty brains.

Oh the nostalgia - mixed with impossible physics. But that's what makes this scene so charming

Oh the nostalgia - mixed with impossible physics. But that's what makes this scene so charming.

I am the first one telling anyone asking that the current stream of Hollywood action movies push way too hard regarding the stupid jokes routines (Transformers, anyone?). But during the making of Speed, Jan de Bont seemingly was fed up to the back of his teeth in terms of fun or humor (watched too many sitcoms?).  Of course, Speed has some funny moments (and one of the best wtf expressions ever) but I book all of them as coincidences – or a different second director. This is a true shame, because with some cool one-liners or badass moments with a wink, Reeves and Speed as a whole would have.

"We're at the airport." "Yea, so?" "I already seen the airport." ... *WTF!!!1!*

"We're at the airport." "Yea, so?" "I already seen the airport." ... *WTF!??!!*

Besides its lack of humor Speed also massively impressed me in another department: implausibility. Yeah, I know, this remark is kinda stupid because Speed is an Action Movie. But even for action movie standards, Speed did some massive stuff here. Especially in the second half this movie pulls some stunts so crazy that even I started wondering what went wrong in editing. Did they lose some twenty minutes on the floor or what? If you have some time get your copy of Speed (BluRay, DVD, whatever) and watch the movie starting with the attempt to disarm the bomb on the bus. Although I watched Speed with only half of my brain in active mode, I still managed to notice many inconsistencies:

  • Although the undercarriage seems to rub on the floor, Keanu Reeves not only manages to get below the bus, no, he even has a ton of space above him
  • When the police department finally learns who the bad guy is, it only takes some mere minutes for them to get to and surround his house – in full armor
  • Although Keanu Reeves married his knife to the bus tank it miraculously never ends up dry, even though the fuel indicator constantly is on the free fall
  • And for the love of god, why the hell does some bus floor have rolls on it?

As you can see Speed is not the best contender for any kind of plot related prize. But who’d care for that. I certainly don’t, despite having the problems I described above. But as I already mentioned, the action way makes up for that. So if you have nothing better to do, treat yourself to some good old 90s action movie shit where the stunts are analogue and the cameras don’t shake.

An okay-y movie, nothing more and nothing less.


  1. » Movie Review – Speed (1994) Fernby Films

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