1994, R, 116 min. Directed by Jan de Bont. Starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels.

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Jan de Bont Films
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
"Superior to the original" is generally considered a compliment in the world of Hollywood summer blockbusters, but when referencing this sequel to last year’s video-game ...

Marc Savlov, July 25, 2003

A daredevil storm chaser gets the tornado he's always longed to see.

Marc Savlov, May 10, 1996

More by Marc Savlov
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
The Prince is dead, long live the Prince

Aug. 7, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022


Speed, Jan de Bont, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle