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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 Boeing 707 freighter cargo plane of the fake, fictional airline "Pacific Courier Freight" being towed out of an aircraft hangar across the tarmac. 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 and saved.

Payne set up these explosives deliberately to fool the police and make it look like he died. 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. Also, Payne says something like he has: "enough dynamite strapped to him to blow a building in half." Since the guy is a former police officer, I think he knows the power of the dynamite strapped to him. Maybe there was enough dynamite there to vaporize him, or maybe he could have placed guts or something in the area to be blown apart, faking his death, and therefore they thought he died.

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.

Probably not. The bomber knew given the time he called Jack, it would be impossible for him to get to the bus in the morning peak in time before it reached 50 MPH. Also, the bomber is playing the gamble. Since he lost in that elevator incident, he is testing Jack's knowledge to see who is smarter.

Payne obviously has some sort of transmitter attached to the camera, feeding the picture back to him. By broadcasting from the much more powerful TV van transmitter on the same frequency, they would effectively swamp the camera signal with their own, so Payne would see their looped tape, rather than the real images from the camera. Although not shown, Jack could also simply have disconnected Payne's camera as soon as the looped tape ran, to prevent the possibility of the real signal getting through and revealing their ruse.

Shooting out car tires is a bit of a movie myth, and bus tires are much more heavily reinforced, so it would be very difficult to hit and puncture a tire successfully. It would also be very dangerous to fire a gun at a small, rapidly-moving target on a busy highway, and a person shooting at the bus would almost certainly make the driver speed up to get away. Finally, one of the tires does blow out at the airport, which makes virtually no difference to the bus's speed or motion, except that it continuously yaws to the left and makes it difficult to steer and control a steady course.

Jack shot Harry in the upper leg, and Harry is presumably referring to the proximity of the femoral artery, a large and vital blood vessel in the thigh. If Jack's shot had hit him there, he would almost certainly have died within minutes, and they would have to give the bravery medal to his widow.

There appears to be 20. On IMDb, some have character names and others are listed as "bus passenger".

I have watched this entire scene frame by frame...and I can't see any cameraman in his jeep.

No. When Bob parks his bus, in faint letters on the headboard it says "NOT IN SERVICE". So Bob was the only person on the bus and unfortunately died. The first bus explosion also served as a wake up call to Jack that the bomber has actually been alive this whole time.

There are multiple shots throughout the sequence showing the interior of the elevator where more than nine passengers are visible. The highest number of passengers visible in a single shot is twelve, but, as no shot shows the entire interior, it's fair to assume that thirteen is, indeed, the correct number.

The garbage can is in place at the northeast corner of Pershing Square, not an intersection (Payne worded it as so). When Traven runs towards the trash can, the Biltmore hotel is ahead of him due west. The sunlight is coming from the east, so Payne's directions were accurate.

Mac instructed the major networks to cease broadcasting at the same time as they created the loop feed, so in effect the networks would have only been broadcasting previously-run footage and re-iterating what they knew, with the ground crew unable to report further under orders from the LAPD.

It is quite possible to have a clear communication between CB radios otherwise whats the point of using them? Distortion exists when there is something altering the connection between the two radios. Communication between him and Mac was obviously clear because there was nothing altering their transmission.

Of course. The stations aren't suddenly going to stop talking about this just because they can't get any more new footage. This station is replaying some previously recorded footage while continuing to discuss the incident. They do this with every ongoing crisis/natural disaster.

It was not written that neatly, and the vehicle was not swerving through the whole scene. During the time that the letter is being written the vehicle drives straight for several seconds as it is keeping pace with the bus. The one big swerve the car makes is when he drops the note (after it is written) and it lands on the windshield of the bus.

Actually, with the weight of the bus being distributed over so many other wheels, this blow out most likely would have had little to no effect (but it usually depends). I had a blow out in my car's right rear tire and my car didn't even flinch because the majority of the weight was in the front where the engine is and rode smooth on the remaining three wheels until I was able to pull over. But, then again, it depends on the type of vehicle you are driving, which tire has blown out and the center of gravity on the vehicle. Usually, when you have a blown out tire, then the entire weight of the vehicle shifts to the remaining tires. As the weight is distributed evenly amongst all four tires, a blow out would then oddly shift the weight on the other tires. With the weight unevenly distributed or sshifted, the bus swerves in the direction where there is a majority of the weight shifted.

One of the runways was shut down, but not the entire airport. LAX has four runways, two for takeoff and two for landing so the airport crew, pilots and control towers were able to cope with that. The planes were simply redirected to one of the other three available runways.

In the film, They never disclose exactly how much time had passed (how long it was) from the awards ceremony to the bar partying scene to the first city bus fireball explosion incident; It may have not necessarily been the next morning or the next fay after, it may have been a few weeks, maybe it could have been months. If Harry was not healed sufficiently they would never have allowed him back on active duty; especially not with the LAPD SWAT team. Rather, he would be put on standby duty, that is sitting on a desk and doing paperwork/office work at the headquarters. But what is known is that Jack saw the first city bus explode some time later (fast forwarded some months later, as it would make sense that Payne spent another while thinking of his revenge plot and grabbing Jack's attention that he was still alive). If Harry was in any pain he was "working through it".

Or it is tempered glass for vehicle use, which is designed to granualate to prevent slicing / chopping injuries in the case of breakage - just like the glass in car windows.

It is possible to do a tape looping because TV crews have that kind and type of filming equipment in their trucks and news vans, and it wasn't in a "flick of a second"; Mac tells Jack "I only have a minute of tape", but it could've been a bit longer than a minute.

t does smash into several cars at the beginning, but eventually gets a police escort allowing the bus to move more freely without endangering pedestrians and causing more damage to cars etc. Jack also phoned his boss Mac to clear the bust city streets for them.

There are about a hundred LAPD SWAT cops on the scene, so he disguises himself as a police officer too, knowing that they won't realize he is not really one, since many precincts were likely involved in such a massive task of watching the trash can from "all" angles. That is why no one notices him. After throwing an off-screen tantrum he puts on his old Atlanta Police Department uniform pretending that he is an LAPD cop. He then approaches Annie as a calm "cop" and says that he was sent by JAck to be escorted to a safe area. As for the hole, he didn't drop through it like Jack did, he and Annie went to the normal subway entrance (offscreen) to retrieve the money that fell through the hole from underneath the hole from underneath the can! That was the point of having the hole that Payne cut on the street in the first place, so that the officers would think the money was in the trash can, while he was able to collect it from underneath undetected, and make his getaway on the next subway.

If you look closely at a modern elevator for a while, you may notice that the doors sometimes close automatically, all by themselves. It's like magic.

It's highly unlikely that they would go THAT fast because of friction, wind resistance, the weight of the bus etc. In the making of the film, the stunt crew accelerated the bus to a maximum of 61 MPH when they were hoping to accelerate it to 65 MPH and it flew 109 feet horizontally and at it's highest point the front end of the bus was 6 meters from the highway bridge. So it's basically Hollywood make believe. In Mythbusters, they were only able to accelerate the bus of the same type earlier to 58 MPH (like you said in your question). And it kept swerving around. They used movie magic to make the speedometer needle to deflect in the film.

I refer you to the contribution rule that states "If something requires slow motion to spot, chances are it's not a valid mistake, but there are exceptions. For example, a cameraman in shot for a few frames or something else fairly major is worth listing, but a tiny change in position or set wobble that's only noticeable by slowing the shot down won't be listed. Minor mistakes have their place on this site, but they must be noticeable in regular viewing."

Probably because the speedometer on the bus is analogue and the speedometer underneath that is on the explosive C4 device is digital and more accurate. You can see the red digital number counting down from 59 until 50 and blowing up. Also, the bus by this time was completely out of fuel. Once the gas tank is empty and runs dry, the bus will slow down to a stop and explode. So the bus most likely completely ran out of fuel as it drove through the aircraft hanger and approached the cargo plane. As soon as the speed hit 49.999 mph it blew up.

Yes this is true, once the glass is shot, it shatters making it is very weak. It would only take a light bump and the whole glass pane would break apart. After all the "action" going on the bus (passengers rushing to help Sam, the bus swerving all over the place) it wouldn't be surprising if the glass pane got knocked out of place.

Speculation, it's not a mistake for someone to realise that they are being approached.

He didn't run THAT far to reach the burning bus (he was actually sprinting as fast as he could) and he had to walk back to his jeep to answer the ringing telephone which was roughly in between the bus and the jeep.

In the previous scene inside the bus, Jack tells the passengers to hold on, and if you notice they all bend forward to protect themselves, this is why you can't see anybody from the outside shot, because they are bent down.

The silver ring is visible in plenty of scenes before and after the one where she ties the rope. It's very obvious.

If you're talking about the tear on the jacket at the shoulderblade, you can see it's still there. when he goes to hug Ortiz, you can see a bit of white on the left side under Ortiz's arm.

There are many different makes and models of cargo aircraft. Many of them are converted passenger aircraft which still contain the original windows. These windows, however, are usually covered over. Upon close inspection of many cargo aircraft, the outlines of the windows are still visible through the paint.

All the news feeds have been shut off. The bus is now in the airport - restricted airspace, so the news helicopters can't get too close, (as Mac says the Choppers can't fly in there since it's restricted airspace.) and we see the police telling the ground-based camera crews to stop filming - an instruction that undoubtedly also went to any news helicopters filming from a distance. As such, at that time, the images from his camera on the bus are his only method of monitoring what's going on.

When the camera is in the car with Jack, look at the wheel, and you will see that the horn "ring" is a semicircle, and it actually only covers half the steering wheel.

When Jack first gets on the bus he is wearing a t-shirt, a blue button down shirt and multi-colored flannel looking shirt. When Sam gets shot Jack takes off the flannel shirt and the blue ones slides off his shoulder but it never actually comes off. It is the flannel one that he gives to Sam.

It is there - the perspective's just a bit weird. The barricade isn't right at the end, it's a warning not far before the gap. We see the bus drive past it just before hitting the edge.

Page last updated by deventhakkar, 1 month ago
Top 5 Contributors: annevejb, Field78, MovieFan0107290, !!!deleted!!! (2011934), mrliteral

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