The 90's were a great decade for action films.
Simple premises with dumb yet memorable concepts and loads of explosions being the key factor for many of them.
Also Dennis Hopper turning in increasingly hammy performances as awesome, if cartoonish, villains.
Speed, of course, stars a young Keanu Reeves as a cop who becomes the target of a madman's dastardly plan to blow up a city bus in exchange for a silly (and oddly specific) amount of money. He is told the bus can't slow down below 50 mph or it'll blow so the plan becomes to try and outsmart Hopper's cola-drinking baddie by trying to stay one step ahead somehow, despite the fact that he is keeping track of everything that's happening with his finger firmly placed on the detonator. You wouldn't think that a film about a city bus would be this entertaining and relentless but it certainly lives up to its title and we're given little time to rest in this intense race against time. Sandra Bullock is the spunky love interest as well as the driver of the bus for most of the movie and Jeff Daniels is Reeves' cop friend who joins him on an early mission.
Some classic moments include the physically impossible feat of a bus falling upwards across an unfinished motorway (that could totally happen, back in 94) and a nail-biting climax on a train which, believe it or not, is also speeding. Only in this movie, by the way, would speed be the answer to all problems. The train's going too fast? No brakes? Let's go faster! Luckily, the film's good enough to make even its most moronic ideas work. A similar train scene can be found in Highlander II but it is so badly shot and edited, it's barely watchable. Director Jan De Bont may have had a longer career as a cinematographer than a director with only 5 credits to his name in the latter department but he certainly proved himself a competent action director with this one.
Even with its shaky logic, its defiance of the laws of physics and the over (and under) acting which can be found with its cast, Speed remains something of an action movie classic. It's just heaps of fun and its unique concept makes it stand out from the crowd.
Which means that Hollywood should be rebooting it... any day now!
Just one piece of advice if they do: don't f*** with daddy.