What is better than a movie with a maniac holding people hostage by threatening to blow them up, and a hero beating odds (and other things as well) in order to save them? Why, a movie with all those things done at high speed on L.A. freeways.

Speed has 3 parts to it: a falling elevator, a bus that cannot slow down below 50 mph, and a train that is going to run out of track very soon. I think this sums up everything about the movie, besides the manic bomb-nut, a hero, the frightened and politically correct set of hostages, and explosions. Oh, did I mention there's a sidekick to the hero? And the obligatory pretty girl?

Still, it's a good movie to watch on the big screen. If you can, do so. Otherwise, don't rent it out unless you're really bored. Speed follows a plot that is very old-hat by now. Nerve-wracking situations are set up and our hero, Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), has to rescue people before some major disaster happens (say, a bomb explosion). Jack manages to do this in all the three situations described above, with only a few losses. Though from the number of things the bus crashed into, and the train deciding that paved roads are better than tracks, one wonders how many lives would've been lost in order to save the 50 or so people held hostage.

Such logistics, of course, should not stop people from enjoying the movie. There is a lot of humour and the action shots are cool. But the cascade of cliff-hangers gets tiresome after a while. It is interesting to note that the helpless girl says something like "we need you Jack; we're helpless without you" in order to calm Jack down just when he is about to lose it. Also interesting that a lot of these good-looking people in the movies are single. How opportune!

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org