Spoilers for the whole movie (though if you haven’t seen it …)
The other day, while looking through my DVDs for something else, I discovered that I owned a copy of Speed on DVD. I was on the phone with my sister at the time and she got to witness my glee upon discovering I owned the movie. And then, of course, I had to watch it. Sadly, I started the movie with about 30 minutes until I had to leave for work, so it was split up by about 8 and a half hours, but that’s beside the point.
What happened was I watched up through the section where they’re getting awards for saving the people in the elevator. The main things I observed for this first 30 minutes or so of the film were as follows:
- Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels are both REALLY young.
- Keanus Reeves is surprisingly hot.
- Joe Morton looked really familiar and then I realized played Henry on Eureka and everything made sense.
- Even though I know what happens, and can quote some of the lines, I found the elevator stuff really tense — even now, over 20 years later.
- Dennis Hopper is great at being a bad guy.
- Keanu Reeves is really hot.
- Keanu and Jeff’s character’s friendships reminded me of Steve and Danny from Hawaii Five-0 and John and Rodney from Stargate: Atlantis (Keanu’s character is Jack and Jeff’s character is Harry).
- I really identify with the character Bob (who pushes the button — “What button did you push, Bob?”).
- Did I mention Keanu Reeves is hot?
I know, right? But honestly, I think that at age 16, when I saw Speed, I didn’t really appreciate just how attractive Keanu was. Now, though, as an adult, I can very, very much appreciate it. Now, uh, back to the movie review.
I got home from work and put on the rest of the movie. I’ve seen this so many times that I basically know it by heart, but I realized, somewhere in the middle of their time on the bus, that I hadn’t seen it on DVD in a very, very long time. I realized this because none of the swearing was bleeped out and that surprised me until I remembered I wasn’t watching it on TV and instead DVD.
A GIF of that moment after Keanu Reeves shoots Jeff Daniels (“shoot the hostage”) in Speed. (source: bobbyfinger @ tumblr
To be honest, not everything holds up well. The ridiculous parts, the bus jumping over the broken highway is nuts and now that I know that it’s impossible, it’s a bit funny compared to when it was in theaters. And, of course, the fact that their subway track isn’t finished in the end is also just too much. But none of that matters. The tension is still there — when the bus driver gets shot, it’s upsetting in the right ways and the same with Helen stepping off and being run over (though we don’t see it) when part of the bus blows up early.
I really like the friendship between Jack and Harry and it made me unhappy with Harry died. Necessary to the story, of course, but also sad. Which brings me to another point or rather, person. Sandra Bullock (oh my god, so young, too!) plays Annie and the incidental love interest of Jack. Now, if Speed were made today, Annie never would’ve been the one at the wheel nor would her character have taken the bus because she had her license suspended. Instead, Annie would’ve been on the bus because her car was in the shop and Jack or another male character would’ve been driving the bus instead.
But, of course, that’s not what happened. Instead, we get (and god, this is such a great thing that I never realized until watching this movie in 2015) a pretty kickass lady character. Annie doesn’t let anyone get away with anything. She adheres to the rules of the bus, she tries to save Helen, she bitches Jack out when he doesn’t tell her (or the passengers) shit. And she drives this big ass bus – which she’s never driven before. And then, at the end, after Jack tries everything to save her (she doesn’t even blame him for getting her into this mess, even though it’s sort of his fault), she tells him to leave. She says she’d rather sacrifice herself than him, too. And when he won’t leave, when he wraps his arms around her, she just cries. The amazement in her voice when she tells him he stayed is awesome.
Annie is an amazing character. Her dialogue is witty and funny, she’s smart and entertaining and she is the perfect foil for Jack’s stoic badassness. Although, of course, we know Jack is all cop, we know there’s more to him. He’s got a heart, we get that when he saves the woman in the elevator, when he shoots Harry to save his life, when his bus driver friend and then Harry are both killed. We know he cares — and we can see it when he doesn’t leave Annie to die alone.
There’s surprisingly a lot going on this this movie. Most of the people on the bus are people of color. Jack learns both their names and to trust them. And they, too, learn to trust him and each other. They know that if they don’t work together, they won’t survive. And, of course, they trust Annie to drive the bus for them.
I was really pleased with how much I enjoyed this movie, even though it’s 21 years old now. The special effects are pretty good, Keanu’s pretty to look at (so is Sandra, really), and the movie is just so damn entertaining. Plus, now that I’m older, I can appreciate so much more (like how it’s obvious now that there’s no way Dennis Hopper’s character died — if you look at the door, you can see he set charges all around the outside of it so that it would look like he had died even though he hadn’t, but everyone would just assume he’d died).
If you haven’t ever seen Speed, what are you waiting for? If you saw it in 1994 (or more recently), rewatch it. It’s fun. You won’t regret it.
(source: shardwick @ tumblr)