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Review Speed (1994): Die Hard on a bus!

genre: die hard clone, action, thriller

For a long time I regarded Speed as one of the best action thrillers made. And after having watched it recently I think it still holds up pretty well. Except I do need to be immensely critical about some elements in the film that can detract from the overall viewing pleasure.

First and foremost the premise of the film is totally ridiculous. It's not realistic in the slightest. You truly need divine intervention for it to be possible for a bus to keep driving fast even if if roads and speedways aren't crowded. The bus also does things that are over the top and impossible. Yet I was willing to suspend disbelief because at least it was creative and original. From start to finish it definitely puts you on the edge for the seat. Except at multiple viewings. Already after a couple of them I can pinpoint two sequences that are pretty problematic. It's the elevator sequence in the beginning and the subway sequence in the finale. Both scenes do work the first time. But after that they become rather tiresome and boring. Because they are actually new predicaments that play out very similar to the whole bus sequence. They don't really add that much other than act as filler. The subway sequence is obviously a case of the film not knowing when to end. A climax after a pretty intense climax simply is not effective especially since you almost everything becomes predictable. Or they should have been bold and let the main villain survive his ordeal so that he could try his terror again in the sequel. Actually that would make more sense than what they came up with instead.

Point Break already had established Keanu Reeves as a believable action hero. In this one he is even a good John McClane type of character. He is just a normal guy who tries his best to deal with the hostage situations but does loses his cool from time to time. And can you blame him? Main villain played by Dennis Hopper certainly makes his life very difficult. But to be honest I found Hopper to be a very weak villain. I mean he certainly played a character who was deranged. Only I never truly found him to be menacing and dangerous. I think it would have been more fun had he truly had a backup plan for every contingency. Like a real cat and mouse play between Jack and Howard Payne. Sandra Bullock also was a good addition as she was the one who kept events relatable and light. She wasn't just a damsel in distress. She did contribute to keeping people alive.

Overall one of the best Die Hard Clones. Certainly a must watch in case you haven't watched this one yet!

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