Speed ★★★★½

In what is essentially three action films tied together by the same protagonist and loon, Speed marks the debut of acclaimed cinematographer Jan de Bont. Keanu Reeves is said protagonist, and Dennis Hopper said loon.

Speed occupies a place in a very small family of films, that includes Aliens & Shoot em Up among others, that almost immediately drives the gas peddle to and through the floor. They are films, like the bus in this film, whose inertia can't seem to be overcome by any outside force. In all three set pieces, building, bus and subway, this is followed.

The script is very lean, and everything in it exists to drive action relentlessly forward. Characters are fairly cliche, replete with the essential stereotypes for the purpose of getting on with it. You get The Hero, The Best Friend (Jeff Daniels), The Cute Girl (Sandra Bullock) and The Bad Guy. As Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air might say, 'Jan de Bont is like my mother, he stereotypes. It's faster'. The script reeks of a machismo and musculature that would become of staple of writer Graham Yost's (Broken Arrow, Justified) career.

Speed is a coronary-inducing, far-fetched, non-stop, holy-shit, one-liner spewing, adrenaline-boner of an action film. It is not meant for great things (neither was de Bont as it turns out), but is meant to be enjoyed for what it is: Perfect action cinema.

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