Speed

Speed Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 251 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Keanu Reeves stars as Jack Traven an LAPD SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Hopper) has planted on a bus. But until he does, Jack and passenger Sandra Bullock must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50Keanu Reeves stars as Jack Traven an LAPD SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Hopper) has planted on a bus. But until he does, Jack and passenger Sandra Bullock must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour -- or the bomb will explode. A high-octane chase of suspense, non-stop action and surprise twists, Speed is a joyride sure to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. (20th Century Fox) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 100
    We've seen this done before, but seldom so well, or at such a high pitch of energy.
  2. 100
    The result is clean, delirious, and, yes, speedy—the best big-vehicle-in-peril movie since Clouzot's "The Wages of Fear."
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    First-time helmer Jan De Bont, the ace lenser of most of Paul Verhoeven's films as well as "Die Hard" and numerous other large-scale pix, handles the action with great nimbleness and dexterity; film can hardly be faulted for its visual presentation of very complex action.
  5. This film's dialogue isn't much more literate than a bus schedule, but its plotting is smart and breathless enough to make up for that.
  6. The deft arabesques of cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak juice up the suspense, and if you're not too put off by the sheer ridiculousness of the story you won't be bored.
  7. The plot becomes so overextended, as Reeves and Hopper wage their endless public transportation battle, even the hardest Die-Harders will consider leaping off way before the final stop.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    Speed is one of the most underrated thrillers ever. Reeves, Hopper, Bullock and Daniels give brilliant
    performances. There is also enough
    Speed is one of the most underrated thrillers ever. Reeves, Hopper, Bullock and Daniels give brilliant
    performances. There is also enough pumping suspense for any film buff. Every second of the movie
    is classic and intriguing, A+.
    Expand
  2. Sep 28, 2015
    10
    An awesome, terrific popcorn thriller and a pure adrenaline rush. Speed is definitely one hell of a ride, and the greatest ride of a lifetime.An awesome, terrific popcorn thriller and a pure adrenaline rush. Speed is definitely one hell of a ride, and the greatest ride of a lifetime. It's fast paced, mysterious and suspenseful, full of nonstop action and adventure, tense, taut and energetic, leaving you fastening your seat belt tight and hanging on to your seats (literally!) from start to finish. The movie is divided into three sections, the falling express elevator with 13 business executives, then a Santa Monica city bus with 19 passengers and finally, a subway train with only three people, the hero, villain and victim. Director Jan de Bont uses every form of transportation and has Dennis Hopper rig it with explosives, pushing its velocity to its maximum limits. First, you speed up an elevator, then you speed up a city bus over 50 MPH and you have to keep it moving across the downtown city streets and rush hour traffic. The bus literally speeds through LA, swerves, accelerates, jumps and flies! (Like the Magic School Bus) before finally ending up at LAX circling the runway. The bus scene lasts over 50 minutes and becomes the main highlight of the movie, similar to how de Bont substantially expands on Annie's character as she rises in rank from an ordinary bus passenger to Jack's sidekick and love interest. The action, thrill and excitement never stops even when the boobytrapped bus is out of the picture. When the subway train accelerates to full speed and derail on the street, because it goes much faster than a bus. Overall, this is one of the best action film I've seen since the summer of 1994, making it true summer fun. It's the pure definition of an action film. Expand
  3. Apr 17, 2012
    10
    Possibly one of the best movies ever, and im a tough grader when it comes to movies and tv shows. There is añways somethingPossibly one of the best movies ever, and im a tough grader when it comes to movies and tv shows. There is añways something happening it has everything action,romance, adventure, even a little comical every now and then. Expand
  4. JamesH
    Oct 19, 2006
    8
    Great film, love watching it. Just a well made movie.
  5. Jul 28, 2014
    8
    Although Keanu Reeves showed us 3 years before this that he can portray an "action hero" in Point Break, i think that "Speed" showed us hisAlthough Keanu Reeves showed us 3 years before this that he can portray an "action hero" in Point Break, i think that "Speed" showed us his adult grown up style of acting in this flick. This film is a very entertaining ride and Sandra Bullock steals the show i every scene she' s in with her comedic presence. The late Denis Hopper and Jeff Daniels also give a great perfromances Expand
  6. Jan 6, 2016
    8
    If you're looking for action movie heaven, try Speed, a crackling blend of suspense and fun that gives you the rush of a runaway rollerIf you're looking for action movie heaven, try Speed, a crackling blend of suspense and fun that gives you the rush of a runaway roller coaster. It's morning-drive time in Los Angeles as a bus packed with passengers heads for the freeway. In a hide-out filled with surveillance gadgetry, mad bomber Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper going full-tilt bug **** as only he can) phones SWAT cop Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) with a perverse pop quiz: "There's a bomb on the bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles per hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, the bus blows up. Whaddya do, Jack?"

    What the bomber wants to do is get Jack to fork over $3.7 million. But Jack is a bit of a loose cannon himself — his partner, Harry (Jeff Daniels), describes him as "deeply nuts." What Jack wants to do is hop on the bus, disarm the bomb, then find this psycho and whup his extortionist ass. Guess who gets his wish? Hollywood cynics have tagged Speed as Die Hard on a bus. Fair enough. Originality isn't the film's strong suit; execution is. Under Siege was prematurely dissed as Die Hard on a submarine until Andrew Davis showed what a gifted director could do with a formula plot.

    First-time director Jan De Bont performs similar marvels with Speed. De Bont, the acclaimed cinematographer who took his camera under the ocean in The Hunt for Red October and up Sharon Stone's skirt in Basic Instinct, also shot the original Die Hard. He's learned firsthand how to grab an audience. And though the script by newcomer Graham Yost lacks the solid character base of last summer's Fugitive and In the Line of Fire, the acting is as kinetic as the action.

    Reeves is a major surprise; he cuts a sturdy figure far removed from the malebimbo act that made him a star in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and proved ruinous to his so-called serious performances in Dracula and Much Ado About Nothing. Reeves' hard of body/soft of head image gets tweaked in Speed when the bomber tells Jack: "Don't attempt to grow a brain." But Reeves has the last laugh by delivering a vigorous, no-bull performance that suggests we'll be able to hear his name in the future without silently mouthing the word dude.

    While Reeves and Hopper play a battle of wits, Sandra Bullock nearly drives off with the picture. As Annie, a passenger whom Jack puts behind the wheel when the bus driver is shot, the smart and sassy Bullock is a knockout. She makes us believe the impossible things Annie is doing and, better, makes us care. Bullock's roles in Demolition Man, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway and The Thing Called Love would have made her a star already if the films were less dreary. Speed is a spiffier vehicle, and it's a pleasure to watch her ride this baby home. Jack picks Annie to drive because she's had her license revoked for speeding. She's more exhilarated than scared keeping the bus hurtling along even when it means flooring the gas pedal to clear a 50-foot gap in the freeway or taking a detour into city traffic that becomes a nerve-rattling demolition derby.

    The stunts, including Jack's leaping onto the bus from a moving car and his trying to dismantle the bomb while dangling near wheels that could squish him into road kill, will have you ducking in your seat. If the bus doesn't get you, there's the elevator crash that opens the film and the subway chase that closes it.

    Still, the fireworks wouldn't count for much if the hardware overwhelmed the humanity. Speed cinches its spot as the thrill ride of summer by providing characters to hiss at and root for. Jack and Annie actually manage to strike up a convincing romance even at hyperspeed and without taking their eyes off the road. It's an impressive feat enhanced by the film's knack — shared with The Fugitive — for serving up two hours of pure pow without gratuitous gore. Action flicks are usually written off as a debased genre, unless, of course, they work. And Speed works like a charm. It's a reminder of how much movie escapism can still stir us when it's dished out with this kind of dazzle. Pass the popcorn.
    Expand
  7. Nov 9, 2014
    5
    This could be the most overrated film I have ever seen. People make it out to be a classic, personally I don't see it. That is not to sayThis could be the most overrated film I have ever seen. People make it out to be a classic, personally I don't see it. That is not to say it's a bad film, because it isn't bad, it's just not very good. There is little to no tension in most of the scenes, and I was really excited going into to this, having read the rave reviews, but I was disappointed. Expand

See all 24 User Reviews

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