Speed

Speed ★★★★★

Between SPEED and TWISTER, Jan de Bont rewrote the book on how to do action in the 90s (and detonate my imagination as a child), the same book that he helped rewrite with DIE HARD. SPEED takes the DIE HARD formula to the next level, the on-the-move DIE HARD, and boy does it ever deliver on the premise of constantly moving. Right from the first scene, where Hopper stabs the guy in the face, I was mortified but hooked as a child. The instantaneous spilling of blood always reminded me of Verhoeven and coincidentally, this and TOTAL RECALL were watched back-to-back all the time in the 90s.

But what can you say about the pacing of SPEED. There isn't a moment to breathe, it's barreling down your eyeballs at 50MPH, an immaculate rate of motion for this type of film. Imagine seeing this fresh on a giant screen, expecting a bomb-on-the-bus movie and you get a phobia-creating elevator sequence and a climax in the subway. The film just really wants to entertain you and is going to throw everything its got at you to do so. You get so caught up in the thrills that you can forget how well the performances compliment the action. Hopper is brilliant of course and has juicy sparing with Keanu, who is also perfect in the role. In a post-FURY ROAD world, you can't help but compare him to Max. And even Bullock has the right balance of levity and drama. She has a quiet breakdown after a small bomb goes off and she totally sells her shock of the situation. The cast all around is spot on. Jeff Daniels starred in two runaway hits in 1994 where he played a guy named Harry. I think Harry has box office mojo.

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