Directed by Jan de Bont. Starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels. (1994, R, 116 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 10, 1994
Action. Action. Action. More Action. That's Speed, in a nutshell. If you like action films, and you can get around the fact that Keanu Reeves couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag with the Jaws of Life and a pound of C4, then this, my friend, is for you. Reeves is LAPD SWAT rookie Jack Traven, who, along with his partner Harry (Daniels), must discover the identity of a mad bomber (Hopper) and put a stop to his flaming reign of terror ?before it's too late.? Impressive firegags galore, heavy-duty body count, several genuinely hair-raising, edge-of-your-seat near-misses, and De Bont's sure-handed direction almost guarantee this to be a summer blockbuster the likes of which we haven't seen since James Cameron's T2. And while De Bont lacks Cameron's good-natured ?gosh, wow? sense of wonder, he more than makes up for it with this film's seemingly unending stream of amazing stunts. City buses fly, airliners explode, Hopper cackles, Bullock (as one of the bomber's hostages) flirts, and Reeves, well, he looks good. De Bont (who performed director of photography duty on everything from Die Hard to The Hunt for Red October) keeps the plot holes to a minimum, but honestly, I may have missed a few thanks to the fact that I was squinting through all the fireballs half the time. In a film like this, timing is everything, and everyone from the stunt coordinators to the crew-at-large seems to have gotten it right the first time. Cameron's new Schwarzenegger vehicle, True Lies, is coming right up, so that may take some of the wind out of Speed, but until then, this is your Saturday matinee, Nineties-style.