Movie #360 2020: Speed (1994)

Well, that’s Christmas over and done with. I do hope you all had a lovely day considering the circumstances. Does that mean the end of the Christmas film at The Quayside Review until next year? Maybe. Maybe not. To me, nothing says ‘Boxing Day’ better than a good action movie, so let’s do it!

Speed, on the surface, looks like your average action movie. Advertisement posters are filled with Keanu Reeves‘ face and fiery explosions – pretty standard. But this movie is far from average. The story entails an American terrorist, who is hell bent on showing the LA police department that he’s much smarter than they are. In the beginning, we see the LA SWAT Team fudge his plan to murder an elevator full of passengers. Thinking the evil genius killed himself in the process, the team move on with their lives. It is not until Reeves’ character Jack receives word about a bomb on a moving bus that he realises the criminal behind it all is still at large. The kicker? If the bus slows down to anything lower than 55mph, the bomb will detonate and kill all on board.

This is one of those action movies that should be cheesy, but ends up actually being scarily plausible. And I loved it. 

Keanu Reeves really overacts in this one, and Sandra Bullock is quite the MVP contextually but is ferociously irritating which is unusual for her. However, Joe Morton and Dennis Hopper rescue it to no end. Jeff Daniels nails it too, as a matter of fact. In the end, the premise for Speed is so brilliant that it really makes no difference that the two leads are insufferable, because it’s so wildly entertaining.

On that note, there are bombs and car chases and guns and an evil mastermind and every other action movie trope you can think of… and it’s bloody brilliant. The plot itself is so exciting and full of twists, even if some of them are predictable at times. One must certainly recommend going in mostly blind like I did though, otherwise some of the surprises will go straight over your head.

It’s well-known that the nineties were saturated with cheesy action films with flimsy plots… but this is the best of the lot. (Don’t worry, I do not count The Terminator in that generalisation). Diffusing a live bomb would ordinarily be pretty humdrum for a movie like this, but with the addition of a speed sensitive bus, it’s an absolutely genius concept.

Witty dialogue and a high octane adrenaline rush, in short. Despite there being some questionable performances and a corny undertone, this movie is pure fun. And it gets extra points for keeping me guessing.

As we hypothesised at the beginning: Speed is your perfect Boxing Day movie.

Speed is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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