I can’t believe it has been 20 years since we’ve had “Die Hard On A Bus” in arguably Keanu Reeves most likeable film before “The Matrix” with “Speed”. In the movie world theoretically Reeves Johnny Utah from “Point Break” could’ve either quit the FBI or have been suspended while Patrick Swayze paddles his way towards a massive wave. Still wanting the adrelanie and be a civil servant Special Agent Johnny Utah calls in a few favors and dabbles in a little identity theft and voila Special Agent Johnny Utah is back in Los Angeles under the alias of SWAT Officer Jack Traven, whose partner
dumber Detective Harold Temple (Jeff Daniels) get a call to a high rise where a dozen or so unlucky elevator riders are held hostage by the nine fingered mad bomber Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) a former police bomb technician who apparently was denied a pension and retirement for losing his thumb in an accident.
Ok truthfully I don’t know why Payne is bent trying to create a nest egg by holding people hostage, apparently he is bent and bitter period. Payne’s elevator heist is thwarted by the quick thinking tandem of Utah, Traven and Temple. If “Speed” were being made today the building owners would probably sue the LAPD or Traven & Temple’s SWAT squad for the damaged they caused to the building when Payne gets away admist an explosion, presuming that he is dead.
Later on this is kind of a minor point I have with the movie Traven and Temple get medals, the film doesn’t specify if its 6 months later or anything, continuity wise it feels like the following week or something. The next morning Jack begins to feel lonely and while getting a coffee and paper a commuter bus behind him is blown to pieces, and a nearby pay phone rings and Traven picks it up talking to Lazarus on the other end angry that his elevator heist was foiled. A few things come to mind was Payne stalking Traven? If so how long was he stalking him for? How did Payne know to rig the one bus to explode counting on the fact that Traven would be there at that place and at that time? And where is he making that phone call from? Is he watching Traven in a nearby office building disguised as a janitor making the call from some random office?These thoughts did come to mind when I first saw the film.
Traven is given a challenge what do you do if a bus goes over 50 miles an hour a bomb will be armed and will explode once it goes below 50 miles an hour? Now looking back Payne’s plan wouldn’t have really worked with the freeway traffic in and around Los Angeles. Payne gives Traven the bus and Traven goes out to find the bus.
On the bus we get
Cameron (Alan Ruck) Stephens who is in Los Angeles sight seeing a construction worker Ortiz (Carlos Carrosco) going to work and running to make to make it to the bus is Annie (Sandra Bullock) for whatever reason is smoking well not smoking it is an unlit cigarette.
Back at head quarters Jack gives Harry (ok his name is Harold “Harry” Temple WTH?) a heads up on what is going on while commandeering a jaguar driven by a music producer trying to track down the bus on the 101 South bound. Traven gets on the bus tells the driver what’s going on.
Twenty years later “Speed” holds up Jan de Bont, a cinematographer on “Die Hard” and other Joel Silver productions gets behind the camera for the first time and paces a fine thriller, with a few plot holes that I mentioned above, then there is the scene where Payne’s house is located and I don’t know why the SWAT Team goes into the house, makes no sense who do you blame for that? The writers Graham Yost who would eventually become the show runner on “Justified” and one Joss Weedon who is un-credited, that does not undermine the movie at all.