Speed’s 5 tensest moments to get you revved up for Cineworld Action Season

Are you ready for Action Season? It kicks off on April 3rd with Predator and continues on April 6th with another dynamite 1990s classic: Speed. This is your chance to experience the taut Keanu Reeves thrill ride on the big screen for just £5. 

If you've never watched Speed on the big screen before, this is your chance to make exciting new memories for a fraction of the price. Here are the film's five tensest moments to get you revved up for its Action Season presentation.


1. The elevator rescue

It's easy to forget that Speed is structured around three extended action set pieces. The meat of the story is taken up with the classic bomb-on-a-bus scenario. However, Speed begins with rogue bomber Howard Payne (an enjoyably unhinged Dennis Hopper) rigging an elevator full of unsuspecting people with explosives, which draws in LAPD police officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves in the role that transformed him into an action icon).

The seeds of the Jack/Howard conflict are sown in this nail-biting opening as Jack and his partner Harry (Jeff Daniels) must deliver the hostages through the gap between the descending elevator and the accompanying hallway. Even now, it makes us tense up while the last lady, reluctant to move an inch, is finally coerced into action before things go kaboom. And if we thought Howard was about to sacrifice himself after a job gone wrong, think again...



2. Jumping the gap

We all know the setup: there's a bomb on a bus that's rigged to blow if the vehicle drops below 50mph. It's been set in motion by the vengeful Howard after Jack thwarted his elevator plans. And Jack has now boarded the bus that is being driven by imperilled passenger Annie (the effervescent Sandra Bullock who shot to A-list fame off the back of this movie).

It's a testament to Jan de Bont's direction, the tight editing and the performances that we become fully invested in the plight of those on board the bus. That's why when we get to the memorable freeway jump scene, tension is at an all-time high as all the actors sell the encroaching terror of what's to come. And this makes the utterly implausible but cathartically thrilling pay-off all the more impactful. Who needs the laws of physics when you have classic Hollywood magic?



3. Rescuing the hostages

The plan formulated to get the passengers off the bus is a thing of beauty: fool Howard Payne's on-board CCTV with looped footage while the hostages are actually being reduced by the LAPD. It's another grip-the-seat moment that allows Reeves to flex his nascent action muscles, once again capably handled by DP-turned-filmmaker De Bont (he was the cinematographer on Die Hard) and superbly edited by John Wright who was Oscar-nominated for his efforts.



4. Escaping the bus

Full credit to composer Mark Mancina: the string-laden eruption that occurs when Jack and Annie finally escape the stricken bus must be one of the best-spotted moments in any 1990s action movie. It reinforces how much we've come to care about these two resourceful characters, a punch-the-air moment that swiftly transitions back into mechanistic synth percussion as the bus plows into a cargo plane and yields a truly spectacular explosion. (Again, the inferno would surely tick any box of Best 1990s Movie Explosions.)



5. Crashing this train with two survivors

If Speed can't quite keep up the momentum once the bus plot is resolved, then at least we're invested enough in Jack and Annie's nascent relationship to make the final third of the movie satisfying. Having discovered that his bus plan has been thwarted, maniacal Howard, subsequently revealed to be an ex-LAPD police officer, kidnaps Annie and lures Jack into a deadly end game aboard a Los Angeles subway train.

One decapitation and some mangled controls later, and we get the final moment of entertaining chaos in a film that's littered with them: the crashing of the subway carriage and the final kiss between Jack and Annie. Let's just pretend Speed 2 never happened.



Click the link below to book your tickets for Speed. It's screening on April 6th as part of Action Season.