Speed; Action, USA, 1994; D: Jan de Bont, S: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton
Los Angeles. Criminal Payne is a bomb specialist who takes hostages in an elevator, demanding money. Police officer Jack manages to free the hostages, but Payne manages to escape, continuing his odyssey by planting a bomb on a bus - if the vehicle drives bellow 50 miles per hour, it will explode. Jack boards the bus and gives a passenger, Annie, the wheel after the driver gets killed. They evacuate the passengers and the smash the driving bus into a wall. In addition, Jack kills Payne in the subway.
In "Speed", cinematographer Jan de Bont managed to successfully direct the clever screenplay by Graham Yost, that seems like an action oriented extract of some never produced Hitchcock film - a bus full of passengers must never drive bellow 50 miles per hour, or it will explode. Of course, since the story is playing out in Los Angeles, the traffic causes numerous obstacles. Unfortunately, unlike the imaginative screenplay, the direction is disappointingly bland, and many of the solutions that do engage the viewers come more as a result of the writer than the director who did a solid, but standard job. The characters are also rather stale, with only Sandra Bullock managing to insert some charm, but only to some extent. Many moments fall into cliches and amateurish choices, whereas the opening and the ending are unnecessary, yet the sole story still has power and seizes attention, especially in the scene where the bus arrives at an freeway gap.