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SPEED (1994)

When an elevator is mysteriously sabotaged, LAPD cops Jack Travern and Harry Temple come to the rescue.  Undeterred, terrorist bomber Howard Payne places a new challenge before the cops: to stop a bomb from self-detonating on a city bus loaded with unsuspecting passengers. Complications ensue as a pretty lady works her way into the action-packed plot.

Director Jan de Bont's, SPEED, is a full throttle, hell-to-leather action vehicle.

The colorful cast includes: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton, Alan Ruck, and Glenn Plummer.

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The basic story involves a cop, Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) plucky Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) and a load of passengers on a bus with a bomb. Once activated, the bomb will explode if the bus goes UNDER 50 m.p.h. It seems that a madman, Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) who Reeves thought was dead, not only is determined to extort money from the city, but has it in for Traven as well. At the beginning of the movie, Traven and his partner, Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) in an exciting action sequence save a lot of frightened, trapped people aboard a bomb-rigged elevator in a tall office skyscraper.

Payne's plan to extort money from the city is ruined, as well as nearly killing Payne himself. So when Payne tries it again, this time using a bomb -rigged bus, he cleverly lures Traven aboard the doomed bus. He explodes another bus right in front of Traven on the city street, then calls him up on a nearby pay phone to taunt him. This starts the heart-pumping action once again, as Traven chases down the next rigged bus, trying to catch it before its speed goes above 50 mph, which activates the bomb. Of course, he doesn't get there in time, but this manly man manages to get aboard while the bus is moving above 50mph on the freeway!

When the bus driver is shot by a man who had committed a crime, because he thought Traven was after him, Annie Porter takes over as bus driver, even if she has a suspended license for speeding. No matter what gets in her way, she must keep the bus rolling around corners, though red lights, etc, or everyone aboard will be blown up. If anyone tries to get off the bus, the bomb will be activated.

Not to worry! The clever scriptwriter, Graham Yost, allows the good guys to solved all their life-threatening problems, in the most clever and action-packed, heart-pounding ways, fooling the dasdardly Howard Payne, who gets his just end when he boldly kidnaps Annie Porter, which starts yet another action sequence, a sure crowd pleaser.

Keanu Reeves' acting performance, as this SWAT cop, is one of his best efforts. His new, short haircut and bulging muscles add to his credibility.

This is the movie that made Sandra Bullock a star. With her cute good looks, and can-do attitude, it's easy to see why.

We also greatly enjoyed Dennis Hopper as the bad guy. He did a great job of delivering several memorable lines as only he can. "Jack, nothing tricky now. You know I'm on top of you! DO NOT attempt to grow a brain!"

Ever since the hit, "Die Hard," numerous action flicks have been pitched as "Die Hard" on a ship ("Under Siege") or "Die Hard" on a mountaintop ("Cliffhanger"). With "Speed," which could be, (and probably was), described as "Die Hard" on a bus, is one of the best influx of post "Die Hard" action vehicles.

A favorite scene has the bus rolling down an unfinished freeway. When they come to the unfunished part, that has a big section of the road missing, the bus goes top speed, flying over the big space, landing on the other side!

Another favorite scene involves an amazing stunt. As the bus speeds along, Reeves is lowered beneath the bus to try and disarm the bomb. This is definitely edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

Overall, the great photography, sound, and editing help make this film a special event, even on the home screen.

If you enjoyed SPEED, you may like any of the DIE HARD movies, AIR FORCE ONE, and UNDER SIEGE.

 

 

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