Speed is one of the most thrilling movies you can watch. I've watched it at least a dozen times now, and it still entertains almost thirty years after it first was released in the cinema.
Although today the names Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock would probably be enough to make a film about reading the phone book, in the early 90s Reeves wasn't yet the household name he is today, while Bullock was unknown. That's why Dennis Hopper, as the villainous Howard Payne, and Jeff Daniels as Reeves colleague Harry, were also cast to help get the film made.
Right from the beginning, it rips along. A film of three clear acts, the best description I heard was that it's Die Hard in an elevator/on a bus/on a train. Of the three, the main story sees Hoppers villain plant a bomb on a downtown bus, with the twist that the bomb will explode if the bus goes below 50 miles per hour.
And it's brilliant.
Keanu is still a bit green acting-wise, but physically he fits the bill perfectly. Daniels is great too as Harry, the steady head foil to Reeves's Jack. The banter between the two crackles as the bicker over pop quizzes. Dennis Hopper, of course, is excellent as Payne, emanating calm menace as the psychopath with a brain.
But the revelation is Sandra Bullock. Her first big role, she is wonderful as Annie, in the wrong place at the wrong time. You genuinely root for her to get through it, and for her and Keanu to get together.
I still find it hard to believe this film was made in 1993.. Apart from the judicious use of pay phones, you wouldn't know it. A stone cold action classic.