Wednesday, March 3, 2010

tm Does the QT 20 Part 19: Speed

She thought Keanu would get an Oscar first.

Speed (dir. Jan de Bont – 1994)

Is it surprising that Keanu Reeves appears in two movies on this list? The guy is universally panned as being unable to act but yet, accordingly to the, of his 56 movies, 14 are rated 7/10 or higher. So, is he just lucky or just what does he add to a movie? I don’t have an answer....

Speed has Keanu and Jeff Daniels as Los Angeles cops trying to catch a bad guy, wonderfully played by Dennis Hopper, who tries to crash an elevator full of people in an extortion attempt. The bad guy gets away but gets to fight another day; he resurfaces by threatening to blow up a city bus full of people. Sandra Bullock’s on the bus and becomes entangled in it all when she takes over for the injured bus driver. Attempts are made to defuse the bomb on the bus, all the while trying to track down the bad guy.

It’s not entirely unpredictable – Keanu and Sandra hook up, Keanu drops some wretched one-liners, a few things get blowed up real good, etc. – but it’s tense and it keeps moving. Sandra Bullock is actually somewhat endearing as the caught-in-the-crossfire passenger while everybody else is not asked to do anything unspectacular – Keanu and Jeff are good as cops because they don’t need to emote and yes, Dennis Hopper is just semi-unhinged and thankfully stays that way, not going for the easy psycho-meltdown.

tm sez: 6/10

(Note: that it has taken so long to post tm vs. the Tarantino 20 is not tm's fault but mine. The series will conclude soon, when I get around to writing a rebuttal of his final entry, which I will write after I write my rebuttal to Colin's review of Shutter Island.)

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