For Wind Back Wednesday, I take you all the way back to the year 1994. The year of the release of the Sony PlayStation, Ace of Base were the band of the year, and films like The Lion King and Forest Gump were released. You know what else came out? That’s right you guessed it, SPEED.
SPEED first crashed onto our screens on June 10th, and since then, the film has popped up in almost every Top 500 Movies of All Time lists. The film debuted at number 1 at the box office, going on to gross $350 million dollars. Considering that the film was only made for $30 million, I would say that was a job well done.
Directed by Jan de Bont, and written by Graham Yost and the uncredited Joss Whedon, the film is an action packed fueled ride of mayhem, explosions, and of course, speed.
Staring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the story follows Officer Jack Travens (Reeves), a young police officer, whose nine lives has led him to be a cocky and seemingly arrogant partner of long time bomb expert, Harry Temple (Jeff Bridges). Together they foil the bombing attempts of our resident villain Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper). Once defeated, Payne then becomes so angry with the police force, that he decides to put a bomb on a public bus, which is activated once it goes over 50mph, and will detonate if it goes under 50mph. Travens, in a crazy stunt, jumps on board the speeding bomb to try and save the day. Hence the film title, Speed.
Like most action films, there is little time for much character development, but with a story like this, you don’t need much of it. Who has time to give backstory when a bus could explode at any minute? Most chase sequences seem to just go on forever, but even though this entire film is one giant chase sequence, it never gets boring. It’s the kind of film that leaves you gripping your seat with exhilaration and wonder as the explosions get bigger and bigger.
Each actor plays their part wonderfully. Hopper gives us an eccentric, manic villain, who leaves little doubt in our minds of whose in charge. Sandra Bullock gives us a performance that is equal parts funny and dramatic, and Keanu Reeves does such a wonderful job of actually showing emotion, it is a breath of fresh air, and a great reminder, that yes, Reeves does actually have a great acting range. Particularly in any film that came out before 1999.
This film is great in that it makes us confront an underlying fear that we all quietly have. What’s the worst case scenario if we’re caught in an elevator? Which lunatic is going to ruin our day today? Is it really safe to get on this bus?
If you don’t think those thing, I guarantee that after watching this film, you will always question if you are doing the right thing by stepping onto that bus or getting into that incredibly high elevator.
I give the film a 4 out of 5.