[Header Image: Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven | 20th Century Fox]
“Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?“
I watched Speed a few times as a kid but it had been a while so when the opportunity arose, I couldn’t resist a rewatch. From what I remember, I did enjoy my pasting viewings but this time around, I had a particularly great and fun time.
For those who are unaware, this movie follows Los Angeles SWAT cop Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) who has to deal with a bomb on a bus that can’t go below 50 mph otherwise it’ll explode. It’s such a simple concept but it works so well. It’s an action-packed, entertaining watch that does a fantastic job at keeping the viewers’ attention from beginning to end.
When it comes to all of the major characters in Speed, the audience is given enough information so that we feel at least somewhat invested in what might happen to them. That being said, the movie doesn’t waste any time. Whether it be with characters or plot, it gives you pretty much the exact information you need without going off on many — if any — tangents. The structure is fairly solid as is the pacing. Barely a moment feels wasted and there’s no point that feels unnecessary, at least not enough to stay with you after it’s over and certainly not enough to ruin the experience overall.
When it comes to the cast, both Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock have some fantastic chemistry throughout. Their journey from strangers to where they end up is a fun ride even if it’s not the main plot. In fact, most, if not all, of the dynamics we see in Speed are great to watch. Practically all interactions contribute to the plot in some way that gets us closer to the conclusion. Even the bomber and his interactions with Jack Traven are fantastic despite the former spending the majority of the movie either being voice-only or not in the same space as Jack.
Throughout, there are some ridiculous, over-the-top scenes but it’s a 90s action movie and it honestly just adds to the experience. There are entire scenes and little moments that had me laughing out loud as I was watching but because there are also high-stakes involved, especially if you do take a liking to the characters, it means the comedy elements and the serious elements are well balanced. At the end of the day, Speed doesn’t require a lot of brain power. It’s certainly easy to throw it on and pay as little or as much attention as you may like without missing much of anything but there’s also enough here that you can give it your full focus and not feel like it was wasted.
At the end of the day, if you haven’t seen Speed for some reason, it’s well worth checking out. And if it’s been a while? Watch it again.
Rating: ★★★★½ /5