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Speed
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FAQ for
Speed (1994) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Speed can be found here.

What is 'Speed' about?

LAPD officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) must stop a bomb that is set to explode on a city bus if it goes under 50 mph. With the help of passenger Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock), who takes over driving the bus after the busdriver is shot, Jack must keep the bus going above 50 mph until they can figure out how to unrig the bomb...IF they can figure it out.

No. Speed is based on a script by Canadian screenwriter Graham Yost with extensive revisions by American screenwriter Joss Whedon. It's said that Yost got the idea from another film, Runaway Train (1985), about a train that speeds out of control, and that the ending was inspired by the ending of Silver Streak (1976). Speed was followed by Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997).

The bomber, Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), worked as a cop for the Atlanta bomb squad and was apparently released after getting his thumb blown off and given a tiny pension and a cheap gold watch, which didn't make him very happy.

No, it was a cargo plane being towed out of an aircraft hangar. The only person that could have been there when the plane blew up was the driver who was towing the plane. As seen in the movie, he is able to escape unharmed.

Even a body that has been blown up should leave some blood and tissue residues; Payne himself comments that if he detonates the bomb, they can "pick up [Harry] with a sponge." We also know Payne is still alive, so one can wonder how the LAPD is so sure that he is dead. It could not be because they identified what was left of him. The answer may be in what he says to Annie at the end: he straps a hostage with bombs, he detonates the bomb on remote, and the police will find what is left of the victims, but "in a mess like that, they don't even count body parts." As the bomb destroys bodies beyond identification, and without evidence to the contrary, Payne knows from experience that the police will assume the bad guy was killed as well. Perhaps Payne also did a similar thing in the beginning. He would probably have a back-up plan to escape, should he be discovered inside the building. He had probably placed an anonymous (dead) person strapped with bombs somewhere on his escape route, possibly the security guard he'd killed in the opening scene. If he needed to escape, he'd make sure he passed that room with the body, and detonate the bomb after he got out of the way. The explosion would of course act as a plausible cause of death for him, but would also stall the police long enough to buy him time to get out of the building unnoticed (the old magician's trick: create a diversion to distract from the object). In this case, Payne purposefully chose to exit through the garage, because he may have hidden a body rigged with explosives inside a car he came with (he could have taken off the explosives strapped around his waist and used these, but it seems improbable that he had enough time to take them off, the explosion occurred pretty quick after he went through the door). He then detonated the bomb, and human remains would be found at the site. With no way to ID these, and two officers stating that Payne went into the room where the explosion occurred, the police would naturally assume he was dead.

How does the movie end?

Jack climbs on top the subway car where Payne has handcuffed Annie, wearing a vest loaded with explosives, to a pole. Payne hears Jack crawling around and tries to bribe him by offeering some of the money. He begins to rummage through the bag only to set off the paint bomb. Angered over his tainted money, Payne starts shooting at the ceiling, but Jack manages to evade the bullets, so Payne climbs on top of the train to kill him. Payne manages to pin Jack down on the roof but fails to see a low-hanging signal light approaching and is decapitated. Jack returns inside the car and defuses Annie's vest but realizes that he can't release her from the handcuffs nor can he stop the train. His only hope is to speed up the train as they go into a 90 curve, forcing it to derail. In the final scene, as the car slides to a stop and spectators come running over with their cameras, Annie kisses Jack. He warns her that, as she told him earlier, relationship based on intense experiences don't work. 'We'll have to base it on sex, then,' Annie replies.

Page last updated by Cristianos, 3 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: annevejb, Field78, MovieFan0107290, !!!deleted!!! (2011934), mrliteral

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