A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is filled with violent images: a fatal stabbing to the head; a decapitation; a bomb activated in a house, which kills several people, including one of the heroes; an elevator plunging forty floors; a bus explosion with the driver trapped inside; hostages with dynamite strapped to their bodies; and a woman killed when she falls under a bus. The language is extremely crude throughout.
What's the story?
Two police officers from L.A.P.D.'s bomb squad prevent a madman (Dennis Hopper) from ransoming an elevator full of people for millions of dollars. The maniacal criminal plants another bomb on a Los Angeles city bus to get even with the policemen and to try and extort the money again. Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), aided by Annie Porter, one of the bus's passengers (Sandra Bullock), has to keep the bus moving faster than 50 mph or the bomb will go off. The speeding bus careens through the city, encountering one perilously dangerous situation after another.
Is it any good?
For action lovers, SPEED delivers. There are sensational crashes, thunderous explosions, vicious hand-to-hand combat sequences, valiant maneuvers aboard a bus, on top of a moving train, in an elevator shaft... nonstop suspense-filled feats of bravery to combat the nonstop evil of a brilliant, but unhinged, villain.
This is Keanu Reeves's first "action hero" role and he does just fine. It's the movie that made Sandra Bullock a star, and she's as adorable as she should be. As for Dennis Hopper, no one takes more pleasure in playing the psychotic misfit. The good guys (and gal) are very, very good. The bad guy is horrid. However, nothing in this film resembles reality. True-to-life events and authentic relationships are in short supply.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how closely this live-action movie resembles a cartoon or a superhero movie. Do you think anyone could really do all the things that Officer Jack Traven does? How believable are the events in this movie? How believable are the characters? Do you think the moviemakers are trying to tell a real story, or make a fantastical movie that is simply fun to watch? What other movies have you seen that fit into this category?
For kids who love Action
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.