Speed (1994) - Five Star Collection

Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Fox || R - 116 minutes - $0.00 || July 30, 2002
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-09-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jan de Bont
Writer(s): Graham Yoast (written by)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Joe Morton


Theatrical Release Date: June 10, 1994


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Director Commentary
  • Screenwriter & Producer Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Extended Scenes
  • 5 Featurettes
  • 4 Multi-Angle Stunt Comparisons
  • 4 Storyboard-to-Film Comparisons
  • Interview Galleries with the Cast and Crew
  • HBO Special: Making of Speed
  • Music Video
  • Behind-the-Scenes Still Galleries
  • Production Design Gallery
  • Full-Length Screenplays
  • Trailer and TV Spots


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Speed to this day is one of the best action movies ever made. It propelled the careers of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock who both have done many movies since with Reeves of course starring in The Matrix and the upcoming Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions and Bullock doing many romantic comedies and dramas. The story is not the best but mixed with the action it works great! Since 1994, many movies have tried to duplicate the "bus jump" but few have succeeded. Overall, it's an excellent action flick that has so far stood the test of time.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

I will start off on disc one with the first commentary track by Jan De Bont who talks about his feature film debut and what he wants to get out of it. He also goes into some detail about some of the stunt sequences, what's real and what's not including the opening shots of the elevator during the credits. But overall, his commentary was dry and not very interesting after 10 minutes or so- but he does give some good insight once in a while.

The gem on the first disc, actually the entire set, is the commentary by screenwriter Graham Yost and producer Mark Gordon. The two trade stories back and forth about early drafts of the screenplay including one in which Harry (played by Jeff Daniels) was the bad guy in the end. They also don't hold anything back. Yost and Gordon explain how it was "bitter- sweet" to describe their feelings toward the disasterous Speed 2: Cruise Control as neither were involved with the production and in the end glad they weren't. The two had worked on a couple of projects after Speed like Hard Rain but they admited nothing has come close to the success of this one. The duo seemed to me like Siskel and Ebert (or Ebert and Roeper) because of the way they criticize, and even point out goofs, during the movie! Both guys did not like the title sequence, more specifically the actual title font for Speed. On the goof side, they pointed out (several times, in fact) the car towing the bus after the first explosion. While they compliment each other and the other crew some, they don't overdo it like other commentary tracks, which makes this one of the best tracks I've listened to. They even give some insight on actor Jeff Daniels' thoughts about the movie. Check it out- it's worth it.

Disc 2 brings us some detailed looks behind the scenes. First are 5 extended scenes that all together add about 2 or 3 minutes of new footage. Some of the extended scenes include extra dialogue (a couple words) from Dennis Hopper as the villain and more shots at the cop party, while another is the revelation of Annie's job. Others are: Jack Shoots Payne in the Neck (0:41), Payne Lives/ Cops Party (4:55), After Helen's Death (3:13), Ray's Crime (1:05). None of these were necessary and is easily understandable why they were edited down. For instance the "Annie's Job" and "Ray's Crime" are merely mundane details that do not further the plot. However, with this DVD all those who were dying to find out those important details can now find out the truth after all these years!

Next are 5 featurettes ranging in runtimes.The first I will look at is the "On Location" featurette which is only a collage of other stuff you can find on the second disc. They have some interviews with producers and stars and such but really nothing exciting. The Stunts featurette goes through each of the stunts and interviews the stunt men, the stunt coordinator and go over safety precautions as we watch the stunts being performed. Next is the Visual Effects featurette which goes over the, well, visual effects. The visual effects supervisor shows us what had to be added to make the bus jump believable by cutting the road shorter to make the rear end of the bus seem to barely make it. They also go through other examples like the metrorail crash but I'll let you see it for yourself. This featurette isn't great you do learn some about the world of visual effects. The best featurette came down to the Bus Jump and Metrorail Crash where we are taken into the process of what went into pulling off a complicated stunt. The bus jump is now infamous in the world of action movies as studios strive to find that next memorable sequence to put in the summer trailers.

There are four multi-angled stunts where the user can switch between angles (3 of them have 8, the 4th only 3) or switch to the last angle to see all of them simutanously on one screen. I preferred the latter and got much more enjoyment out of it seeing what shots they used in the movies and how many cameras it took to get it. The multi-angled scenes are: the Bus Jump, Cargo Jet Explosion, Jack vs. Payne and Metrorail Crash. The feature is fun to watch if your into seeing how they film an elaborate stunt sequence seen in the movie.

To be honest, I'm not much of a fan of the Storyboard to Film Comparisons. The feature is not very that entertaining because you are watching some drawings, much like the one's you've seen in other storyboard features, along with the clip of the movie (which is slowed down a little to stay on pace with the boards). It's not a complete waste of time just to see some of the drawings done before production, including one that was never filmed but all in all you can spend your time better looking at the other stuff and save this one for later.

Next are Interview Galleries with cast members Keanu Reeves (5:55), Sandra Bullock (9:26), Jeff Daniels (6:47), Dennis Hopper (4:40) and director Jan De Bont (4:21). Bascially the stars and director are questioned on various things such as the story, their character and all of them were asked about Jan De Bont (except De Bont, of course). Portions of these interviews were used the HBO Special: The Making of Speed which worked MUCH better there than bundled together. The funniest two were Sandra Bullock who was her bubbly self and also makes a cute joke about what the sequel should be called while Keanu Reeves was fun to watch as he tried to explain the storyline and fumbles a bit in the middle. The others were ok and did their little press junkett dance saying all the right things and never revealing anything more about the production. Now, the HBO Special was your typical 25 minute piece and was hosted by Dennis Hopper as they used the interviews mixed in with behind the scenes (also found on the DVD) and movie footage. Like other HBO Specials, it is anything but special, however it's somewhat fun to watch as the studio tries to sell the movie.

The "Rest" as I call it include Billy Idol's music video (which Yost and Gordon also comment on), Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery, Production Design Gallery, the Full-Length Screenplay, and the obligatory theatrical trailer and TV spots. All these features are fine but nothing great. The stills gallery has pictures from throughout the movie while the production gallery has behind-the-scenes pictures. The Die Hard 5 Star DVD also had the full screenplay which is actaully interesting to read and how it changed from the final version.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The sound on the newest Speed release is excellent with no distortion to speak of. The disc includes both the Dolby Digital and DTS mixes... Something for everybody!

There were a couple of noticeable points here and there that were not clean (in the original production) but all in all almost perfect.



.::OVERALL::.

Fox has done a bang up job with their 5 star collection that includes Die Hard and The French Connection. Now, Speed finally gets the release it deserves after a one disc version with only a trailer. This DVD is one of the best of the year with the numerous featurettes letting the viewer in on how the biggest stunts were done. But, the best this two disc set has to offer is the second commentary by Yost and Gordon who make a funny bantering duo through the 2 hour movie. If you liked Speed, buy this DVD! You won't be disappointed.