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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
on July 28, 2003
Perhaps one of the most terrifying adrenaline-rushing movies ever made 1994's "Speed" is a terrifying but absolutely original movie with a very original plot.
Set in the traffic-congested streets of L.A., the beginnings of the attacks begin when a metro bus is blown up just as it makes its stop at a bus stop. Also, an elevator has its cables severed after a bomb that was planted explodes sending the elevator and numerous passengers in it plummeting over 50 floors down but is stopped temporarily but in only a matter of time, the elevator will crash to the bottom floor and can they rescue those on board before it's too late?
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg as two disgruntled cops, are on a hunt to bring down the reign of terror from a retired police officer turned terrorist Howard Payne, and save numerous passengers stuck on a bus with a powerful bomb planted that will explode when the speedometer goes below 50 miles per hour plus the passengers are held hostage as the escape routes are rigged with explosives that'll go off when any passenger attempts to escape through the exits!! Now the two disgruntled cops, with a large task force assembled, go on an extremely dangerous and highly adrenaline-rushing mission to rescue the passengers on the bus WITHOUT causing it to go below 50 miles per hour and also to stop Payne's terrorist activities.
The title of this movie is just downright perfect for what the movie really is. It's one very long extremely suspenseful ride along a terrifying visual assault, seeing the bus go over a 50 foot wide gap on an unfinished freeway, and through opposing traffic, I've never seen a movie like this that has so much action yet relatively little of the human to human kind of action, little fist fighting, guns shooting, etc. and for that this movie stands out among the numerous action movies of modern times, being a type of action movie that relies more on long suspenseful sequence rather than just a whole bunch of numerous human to human combat, gunfights, yada yada yada.....
Whoever came up with this clever movie plot was a total genius. Sad to see a great movie legacy be watered down with the lousy follow-up sequel "Speed 2: Cruise Control", which had little of the adrenaline and a far slower paced plot than this one. Even Sandra Bullock, who was excellent in this one, seemed like she was ready to leave the set with "Cruise Control" as soon as possible. On "Speed" though, she was just awesome, showing the sheer terror of Annie's experience on the bus as she tries to keep it from going below 50 mph.
Keanu Reeves may be having another glory era in his career with the Matrix movies right now but for me, "Speed" is Reeves' best acting performance of his career to date. Absolutely an astounding movie to watch whether one's brain is in on or off mode this movie is. Buy it today!
on January 12, 2014
This review is not about the movie itself. Who needs another review of that? We all know what an excellent thrill-a-minute movie this is that stands the test of time. Its just as good today as it was yesterday, and will continue to be in the future. This review is simply to say that if you're looking to buy this title and want to know which edition is better, the Award Series edition or the 5-Star Collection edition, im here to say that they are both identical. Both have the same special features etc. So buy whichever one you can get cheaper and enjoy!!!!
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!
on September 18, 2012
This movie is awesome and very well acted. Anybody who says Keanu Reeves is a stiff with no emotional depth needs to watch this movie. He has some of the best lines and he shows his humorous side as well as his serious side. He can act and this movie proved that a move to action was a very smart move. He, also, was wise to turn down Speed 2 which sucked big time. He lights up the screen and is buff, hot and looking good, not to mention that he looks good in the S.W.A.T. uniform. He is definitely not the character from Bill and Ted here and I liked those too. I have watched this movie at least a dozen times and it never fails to engage me. The chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock comes across on the screen and they are believable. It is 2 hours of non stop action and if you are a fan Of Keanu Reeves, as I am, then it should be in your movie library. Especially on blu-ray as the movie looks like it was made today not 18 years ago.
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.