Speed | Chicago Reader

Speed

Enjoyable thriller hokum in the form of a theme-park ride (1994) from first-time director Jan De Bont (a Dutch-born cinematographer best known for his work with Paul Verhoeven), with a script from Graham Yost, also making his feature debut. All the action derives from the untiring efforts of a standard-issue mad bomber (Dennis Hopper), who demands enormous ransoms in order to avert planned disasters but, like John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire, seems principally motivated by Hollywood script conferences. His main scheme, taking up most of the movie's running time, involves planting a bomb under an LA bus, which will blow up if the bus is driven any slower than 50 miles an hour. Keanu Reeves is the courageous cop who comes to the rescue, assisted by gutsy civilian Sandra Bullock. The deft arabesques of cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak juice up the suspense, and if you're not too put off by the sheer ridiculousness of the story you won't be bored. With Joe Morton and Jeff Daniels.

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