When a young Los Angeles police department, Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) officer called Jack Traven angers retired Atlanta police department bomb squad member Howard Payne, by foiling his attempt at taking hostages stuck in an elevator with a bomb, Payne in retaliation arms a bus with a bomb that will explode if it drops below 50 miles per hour. With the help of spunky passenger Annie, Jack and his partner Detective Harry Temple try to save the people on the bus before the bomb goes off, while also trying to figure out how Payne is monitoring them.Written by
Although it was not part of the original screenplay, Keanu Reeves and Jan de Bont both agreed that miming gum chewing was an ingenious way to foreshadow Jack Traven's "gut feelings," thus exposing his thought processes to the audience. This revelation occurred after Keanu casually ad libbed this into one of the scene takes. See more »
When Payne is in a hideout watching the news unfold on numerous TV sets, he hears one reporter mention that a Los Angeles police officer (Jack) boarded the bus from a moving car. Right here we can see a reflection of Payne in the TV screen, which shows him placing his right hand over his mouth. In the following shot of Payne's face, where he says "Oh would that be you Jack?", his hand isn't anywhere near his mouth. See more »
Hey, this area's restricted.
Oh, hi. Yeah, I know. They called me down here. Some of this wiring got screwed up.
Nobody called it down to me. I'm going to have to see a work order.
Yeah, just a second. There you are.
[stabs workman in the ear with a screwdriver]
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Theatrical version had the 1981 20th Century Fox logo at the opening. All VHS, Laserdisc and DVD versions plaster this with the 1994 CGI logo (with the 1981 fanfare) that was used until 2009. However, the Blu-ray release restores the original 1981 logo. See more »
In what is certainly Jan de bont's best film, and Keanu's best role before Neo, this has earned its place as one of the best action films ever. Good action films have good story lines to justify the explosions and violence. There is no exception here. The story is a simple one, which sets up the scenes for plenty of tension and action. If I was to make one criticism, I think it was in the part played by Dennis Hopper. He didn't come across as entirely convincing, but the rest of the film made up for this and it seems alright. It's a pity that de bont thought he could do it again in speed 2, and another pity that Sandra bullock agreed to be in it. Keanu made the right decision to not appear in this, as this seems a polar opposite to the first film. Ignore the second, the first is, to me, a classic in its genre.
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