Speed

Bomb on a Bus

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels

Director: Jan de Bont

Plot Summary: A terrorist looking for money plants a bomb on a city bus, which will be triggered if the speed goes below a certain amount. A cop and a passenger work to keep the bus going and try to disarm the bomb.

A nice twist on the police thriller, this fast-paced action flick is the ultimate chase scene… essentially the entire movie. Keanu Reeves plays a young cop who, along with his partner, attempts to rescue an elevator-full of passengers from a mad bomber at the beginning of the movie. Apparently this guy can’t get on any game shows or write an autobiography because he’s asking for cold, hard cash to let the civilians go.

The two cops do manage to foil this guy’s plans, although it introduces a rather shaky plot point in my opinion. When the protagonist meets up with the antagonist early in the story, there must be a way for the bad guy to escape (after all, if he were captured there wouldn’t be a story). This can be done, but care must be taken not to make the encounter feel contrived. Unfortunately in this case it does. Our hero does something stupid and the bad guy escapes.

Of course our bomber does return to bedevil our hero. His second attempt at gaining money is to plant a bomb on a city bus, timed to go off if the vehicle goes below the speed of 50 mph. Why I cannot say… the bomber really could have done all that he did with the bus standing still. But that isn’t as exciting! And it doesn’t allow the bus to careen across the city, narrowly avoiding disaster, crash into other cars, and scatter pedestrians.

On the bus is the usual cast of supporting characters. Pulled from this mix is the Sandra Bullock character, a young woman who is an excellent driver (despite the fact her license was taken away because of… speeding). She and Reeves develop a romance, of course, but it feels tacked on and certainly isn’t critical to the plot. His partner is well used back at the police station, tracking down the bomber and offering advice on how to defuse the bomb(s).

I enjoyed this movie. While the bad guy is over-the-top annoying, everything else sails along at a fast clip. Exciting action, although the bus never slams into a cart and sends a colorful array of mixed fruit exploding across the screen. I kinda missed that.

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