"Hang on for a wild and crazy ride. Pia Lindstrom, WNBC-TV
|Los angeles police department cop jack traven's luck is put to the ultimate test when a mad bomber terrorizes the city and takes a personal interest in jack. He has rigged a city bus to explode if the speed falls below 50 mph. Jack must rescue the passengers and an attractive substitute driver.|
"Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! Siskel & Ebert
SPEED: A mad bomber (Dennis Hopper) is out for revenge against LAPD rookie cop Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), who, with the help of his partner, Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels), foils the criminals' plot to extort money from the city by holding hostage an elevator full of people. He plants a bomb on a bus, set to arm itself when the vehicle hits 50 mph, and detonate if it drops below that speed. The hero, with the help of a beautiful passenger named Annie (Sandra Bullock), must defuse the explosive device before the bus runs out of gas. This fast-paced thriller received two Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing, as well as a nomination for Best Film Editing.
Cast & Crew
Jack Traven is a risk-taking SWAT Team officer, pitted against a mad-bomber, Howard Payne. Howard has a pattern of coming up with ingenious, deadly schemes: for example, he rigs an L.A. bus so that, after it reaches a speed of 50 mph, it will explode if it slows to below that rate.
"...[De Bont] delivers a wild ride that's worth the fare..." - Recommended
"...A crackling blend of suspense and fun that gives you the rush of a runaway roller coaster..."
New York Times
"...Delivers wall-to-wall action....[Reeves has] become an actor of real charisma....Hopper finds new ways to convey crazy menace..."
"...[A] dazzling action thriller....Even Hitchcock, I think, would have approved..." -- Rating: A
"...It's one of those won't quit action pics that make Hollywood the frequent envy of world cinema..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Los Angeles Times
"...Invigorating....De Bont and his team have turned in a visually sophisticated piece of mayhem that makes the implausible plausible and keeps the thrills coming..."
"...It's a smart, inventive thriller....A great entertainment..."
Wall Street Journal
"SPEED has become a classic action thriller, and rightly so. It was made in the predigital days when special effects looked real because most of them were real..."
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide 10 of 10
Incredibly kinetic, supercharged action yarn about an elite SWAT-team cop (Reeves) who's targeted by a psycho/mastermind (Hopper), and led onto an L. A. city bus that's triggered to explode. If you're going to make a nonstop action movie, this is the way to do it--with expert pacing, eye-popping stunts and special effects, and characters who make sense. A bull's-eye!
- Leonard Maltin
Time Magazine 9 of 10
...the film's sheer cut-to-the-chase straightfowardness is part of its appeal. Speed has terrified (and nicely particularized) passengers, a resourceful hero (Keanu Reeves), a gutsy heroine (the always appealing Sandra Bullock) and a terrific villain (Dennis Hopper, doing what he does best - rationalism gone gaga). The can't-slow-down bus ride is bookended with a pair of thrill sequences, either one of which would provide enough of a plot for most movies. Speed begins with a crowded elevator that is sometimes in free fall and is rigged to explode at a certain floor, and it ends with a driverless subway running out of control, the heroine helpless inside. The movie has two virtues essential to good pop thrillers. First, it plugs uncomplicatedly into lurking anxieties - in this case the ones we brush aside when we daily surrender ourselves to mass transit in a world where the loonies are everywhere. Second, it is executed with panache and utter conviction. Possibly this is because Speed is the first feature for director Jan De Bont and writer Graham Yost, and they haven't yet learned all the bad things that can happen to good (and not so good) moviemakers in Hollywood.
- Richard Schickel