66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2009
Blu-rays are about picture and sound quality. A review of Blu-ray edition of an old 1994 movie should be addressing the issue of added entertainment value when upgrading to the Blu-ray edition, not the story itself, which we are all familiar with.
A dvd of this movie cost a bomb back in the day. It has been shown countless times on free to air TV. I saw this movie in a theatre way back in 1994. Nostalgia made me buy Blu-rays of this movie along with Blu-ray Black Hawk Down, both at the same price. Naturally, I saw Black Hawk Down first, reserving Speed for later.
I totally underestimated SPEED. With the Blu-ray, (I hook up my TV to Bose 901 speakers) I was transported back to the cinema hall. The sound from the Blu-ray was awesome. Every explosion, collision, aeroplane, helicopter had a deep and tight bass sensurround sound. The bass on my speakers were truly put to the test. The deep rumblings of the bus and the sound of the crashing of the bus were true to life. Sounds were moving to and fro Left and Right speakers positioning the bus, helicopters and gunshots correctly. This made the Blu-ray worth every cent. The dialogue was crisp. I switched off the sub-titles and just enjoyed the whole Blu-ray performance, even though I had seen this movie on Full Screen TV free so many times before. With Blu-ray, this appeared to be a different movie altogether.
I cannot complain about the picture quality, although others might expect a better transfer. I can see every wrinkle on Dennis Hopper's face and the individual hairs on every actor's head in close-ups. For a 1994 movie, that is good enough for me. Colour saturation was good. The picture quality surpasses that of many Blu-rays which cost a lot more, and which are of more recent vintage.
Probably one of the most well spent $12.99 (price at the time of this review). The Blu-ray release surpasses expectations. Black Hawk Down has a more sombre theme, but somehow, the gunfire and helicopter crashes sound muted compared to SPEED. I expected better from Blu-ray Black Hawk Down and for value added by the Blu-ray edition. Blu-ray Black Hawk Down was better than the dvd, but it did not have the massive improvement Blu-ray brought to SPEED. The acoustics in SPEED sounded better than the recent Fast and Furious series of Blu-rays, to me anyway.
I am not in the position to comment about technical specifications, but for a person who has been disappointed by a lot of Blu-ray upgrades, SPEED added so much more enjoyment for such a small investment.
If Blu-rays reviews ignored the content and were rated according to "How much more did the Blu-ray edition add to your enjoyment of the movie compared to the dvd version", I would say SPEED BD would rank in the top few. Gladiator Blu-ray, on the other hand, would rank in the bottom few (if you ignored the 5 star contents).
And if you do not have a copy of SPEED, go straight for the affordable Blu-ray version of SPEED. I experienced a ressurection of a movie I once wrote off as "old". Excellent value for money.
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2002
Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer loops a videotape of him and the guys working while they goof off "I saw this in a movie where there was a bus and it had to keep it's SPEED above 50 and if it's SPEED dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called: The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down!" Even Homer realises the cleverness of Jan De Bont's tautly-directed action thriller.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper and Jeff Daniels, Speed is one of those rare films that comes along every now and then that proves to be better than standard fare. Essentially one big extended action scene, the film's frenetic pace makes up for the frequent plot holes. The action never lets up, creating suspense- filled set-pieces and audience excitement. The premise of a bomb on a bus that wil explode if the speed goes below 50 makes for one far-fetched but fun thrill ride.
Keanu is the quintessential gum-chewing cool guy action hero Jack Traven who, along with Annie Porter (Bullock) tries not to get blown up by a bomb that retired cop Howard Payne (Hopper) has set on the bus to get money. The entire principal cast are great, especially Hopper, whose character is reminiscent of his crazy bad guy in Red Rock West (1992). With lines like "Poor people are crazy Jack, I'm eccentric", Hopper manages to give a good performance during his rather short screen time. Plus the added quality of the always-good Daniels is first-rate. And Keanu, now best known for The Matrix, is equally cool here.
Jan DeBont's direction makes the film a taut, entertaining action ride, and surprisingly, Bullock manages to change from nervy bus passenger to a strong character by the film's conclusion. And the pulse-driven score creates even more tension and excitement. But the film is not perfect, it's predictable at times and things get rather tedious at the end, with yet another gasping of "The track's not finished!" Minor quibbles aside, the action is impressive, and Jan DeBont's visual stylishness gives a really eye-catching look. This action-fest is one of the best.
The DVD extras are amazing, with commentaries from De Bont and the crew, extended scenes, Easter Eggs (DVD Credits, Airline Version of Bus Crash), "Inside Speed Featurettes on the location, stunts and visual effects", production Design, the original Screenplay, action Sequence Featurettes on the "Bus Jump" and "Metro Rail Crash", Multi-Angle Shots with Audio, Multi-Stream Storyboards, an interview Archive with Keanu Reeves and the cast, trailers, 11 TV Spots and production notes. Impressive stuff!
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those rare action/suspense movies that will far surpass your expectations. You will be on the edge of your seat a lot because the suspense build up is done that well. The cast is what impressed me the most. I knew what to expect with the Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves pairing, but the supporting characters were a surprise as they were outstanding. Jeff Daniels is always wonderful on screen. Dennis Hopper was great as the lunatic holding them hostage.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This is the film that made Keanu Reeves a bankable action film star. Of course, it was overdue anyway, based on his stellar performance in Point Break a few years before, but this was the one that lit him up like a Christmas tree on the pantheon of Hollywood somebodies. The plot is simple yet imaginative; an ex-cop demolition expert with a grudge decides to put a busful of hostages at risk by rigging it to explode if its speed goes below 50 miles an hour. So place these people (including a reluctant Sanda Bullock as the drafted designated bus driver), add Keanu as the cop trying to keep the busful of civilians straight and catch the bad guy (played well by Dennis Hopper)and Jeff Daniels playing the other cop trying to figure out the demolition angle from back at the station, and you have all the ingredients for a terrific and very entertaining movie.
Which, of course, it is. It is unusual, very well acted, and the action sequences simply steal the movie. There is very little down time in the movie, and like the early Jaws, one finds oneself reeling from the action as it goes literally from one situation to another. The way the action scenes are choreographed and plotted makes one want to run for cover as the bus screams through a bevy of hairy circumstances one would think are going to doom it and the passengers to a fiery death. Suffice it to say that this is well worth your time and money, and that this new DVD version has a lot of added features regarding the film that make it even more fun to enjoy. Sit down and get your popcorn ready folks! The film is about to roll. enjoy!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2002
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed "Speed" until I saw it again in its newest DVD transfer. Forget about the plausibility of the plot, since if that were the standard to judge action/adventure movies, how many would qualify? Instead, enjoy the non-stop excitement, with "Armaggedon"-type pacing where each solution is followed by another problem.
The movie is basically all-action, all the time, and that's what those of us who love this genre want. If you're looking for profound dialogue or character development, you won't find it, but you will find lots of humor thrown in to lighten things up.
Keanu Reeves gives a glimpse of the sort of intensity that he would bring to the "Matrix", and Bullock is about as believable as anyone could be behind the wheel of the bus. The two of them establish a good chemistry and this definitely lifts the film above the run-of-the-mill.
Dennis Hopper is his usual maniacal self as the crazed villain, and Jeff Daniels does a credible job as Reeves' partner; the two of them had some great lines at the beginning of the film.
The DVD transfer is excellent; the video is clear and well-balanced with minimal digital artifacts, and the audio will give your surround system a real workout. I haven't looked at the second disc yet but it's loaded with extras.
Bottom line: for a classic adventure flick with an outstanding new remastering, this Five Star version of "Speed" can't be beat!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2002
(USA - 1994)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Theatrical soundtracks: Dolby Digital / DTS
That rarity in modern American cinema - a high concept bubblegum movie which lives up to its own hype and doesn't insult the audience's intelligence - the film offers a three-act scenario (elevator, bus and subway) in which a ruthless terrorist (Dennis Hopper) pits his considerable bomb-making skills against the local SWAT team's finest agents, led by a pumped-up Keanu Reeves (whose career was subsequently launched into orbit, reaching iconic status in the ultra-popular MATRIX series). In one of the commentaries provided for the DVD version, producer Mark Gordon (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and writer Graham Yost (BROKEN ARROW) cheerfully acknowledge the film's one-dimensional characters and obvious plot-holes whilst celebrating the ultra-slick production values and breathtaking action sequences.
And it IS slick: Debut director Jan de Bont (an erstwhile cinematographer, usually associated with Paul Verhoeven) has marshalled a note-perfect creative team on both sides of the camera, turning Yost's modest screenplay into a super-charged thrill-machine, photographed (by Andrzej Bartkowiak) and edited (by John Wright) to perfection, and augmented by some of the best stuntwork and visual effects that money can buy. The cast is dependable and solid: Reeves and Hopper make a formidable virtue of their opposing characters, and leading lady Sandra Bullock 'makes cute' in a career-making performance, while Jeff Daniels (DUMB & DUMBER) and Joe Morton (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET) offer strong support in crucial secondary roles.
NB. To date, no one involved in the production has addressed the narrative parallels between SPEED and the Japanese thriller THE BULLET TRAIN (1975), in which a terrorist bomb is primed to explode on board a packed commuter train if it falls below a certain speed. It's possible that SPEED was written and produced in complete ignorance of the earlier film, but the two scenarios share uncomfortable similarities.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm not going to dwell much on the storyline or characters. I just want to say that this is one nail-biter right from the opening scene and is so much fun to watch. Sure it makes no sense if you're talking about something like this happening in real life (well maybe it does, but the bus would have exploded early on in its journey) but for entertainment value, this movie is way up there on the scale. Dennis Hopper was a wonderful villain and the characters are very likable.
I want to give thumbs way up for the audio portion of the Blu Ray - turn up the sound when you are watching this because the quality is truly stunning. Very realistic, nothing exaggerated. Dialog is clear and the movie makes good use of a surround system. The video is good, considering the age of the movie. The audio is just plain excellent.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2006
I'm really excited that FOX is finally releasing some of it's catalog titles on Blu-Ray. But these titles are exactly that catalog titles, that are priced higher than most studios day and date releases. The picture and sound quality are on par with Sony / Warner Bros. / Paramount / Disney, not any better or worse. The "extras" are sorely missing. I'm really getting tired of certain studios setting up for the "double dip" by not including the basic extras from their dvd couterparts. Yes, I did purchase this movie, but I feel cheated having to pay this much to enjoy Speed in Hi-def, when M:I:3 looks a lot better, is packed with features, and costs less. Come on Sony, Fox, & Disney step up your Hi-def game.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2006
Keanu Reeves has emerged as a major presence here. Of course, "My Private Idaho" showed us how good an actor he really is, but too few people saw that strange, excellent film. Here he's great; sexy, competant, and with that edginess necessary to all action heroes. And this movie delivers. Action all the way, with Dennis Hopper, the perfect villain, and a strong female lead, a hero in her own right, who doesn't fall apart when everything else does. It is violent, with a couple of gory scenes and extremely fast- paced. I noticed in the beginning, when Reeves and the always excellent Jeff Daniels first arrive at the bomb site, as they prepare to go in, the camera moves around them in such a way, as to aid the impression of urgency and speed. It was very good. The bus leaping the 50-foot gap was the only scene that didn't work, as you could clearly see it sinking before they cut to the next shot where it hits the other side, tail end miraculously up instead of down. And it sure looked like they blew up a real plane. Hopper was truly creepy, playing his role with such understatement, as if this was all so ordinary. But Reeves is the star here.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2005
Dennis Hopper was a great villian - he sure kept us on the run.
Jack [K. Reeves] was hard put but ready to outsmart the bomber.
Sandra got better after a couple of stiff lines. She was great with all that yelling.
I didn't appreciate the bomb squad getting blown to smithereens but that was the story. [Jeff Daniels] part deserved better.
It still with all of its action and fast paced story line should become a "Classic" - it rates as one to be watched over and over again. This has been my 4th or 5th time already.
I sure wouldn't want to be caught having to jump a bus into space - landing would be just too uncertain.
Great tension - excellent acting on all parts - especially the bus passengers. And how about the police co-ordinating the rescues? Who was the flat-bed driver?
Well I will be ready to watch it again this fall.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED --