One might claim that when making a genre film, it is difficult to fall completely flat, but even more difficult to go the extra mile. Furthermore, I would say that the action genre is where this rule applies the most, because the balance between the audacious and breathtaking on one side and the overexerted and plain stupid on the other is quite tricky to nail down. This is where Speed has perfect equilibrium. Made by first-timers Jan De Bont and Graham Yost, the film has a freshness and chutzpah to it that demands our attention from the set off and never lets go.
Yost's script is relentlessly crisp and
De Bont makes his film into a non-stop suspense ride that at times have
touches of Hitchcockesque flair to it. The three leads, Reeves, Bullock
and Hopper are clever to leave any refinement they should possess
behind, and they all deliver industrious, economic performances. That
doesn't mean they and the film aren't playful; here's always another
idea that is more clever and flashy than the previous one, and De Bont
restrains his show with velvet gloves, making the film a delightfully
hyperbolic action showcase. It was Hollywood's best year in recent
times, and Speed one of the very best films in this genre ever.