It has been a few years since I last saw Speed… but it is still as enjoyable as ever. Sure, Keanu Reeves is a bland actor, but other then his role in The Matrix… this is some of his best work. The action is hot, and the story is solid. For those who have not seen this film (what rock have you been hidden under?), this synopsis is for you:
“Jack Traven is a risk-taking SWAT Team officer, pitted against a mad-bomber, Howard Payne. Howard has a pattern of coming up …ith ingenious, deadly schemes: for example, he rigs an L.A. bus so that, after it reaches a speed of 50 mph, it will explode if it slows to below that rate.” – FOX
This film sounds absolutely amazing. The DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks are both as good as they come. As usual, the DTS track contains a bit more bass and punch, but the Dolby track is still very solid. The soundstage is used to the max… sound is thrown from all directions. The front/back and left/side sound separation is pure bliss, and the ambient sounds are clean and nicely positioned. Dialog is also clear and focused. You really will want to hear this disc!
This disc looks very good. The colors, for the most part, are natural and sharp (occasionally, strong reds are saturated), and the dark sequences are dark yet crisp. There are some occasional print defects, but so few it is not distracting. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer was quite clean… with very few edge enhancements and very minimal grain. Not reference… but close
Disc one of this 2-disc Five Star release features two audio commentaries, the first with director Jan De Bont and the second with screenwriter Graham Yost and producer Mark Gordon. The Yost and Gordon commentary is quite entertain, while the De Bont commentary is more informative. Unfortunately, the De Bont track has many long gaps of silence throughout. A Reeves & Bullock commentary would have been great… but we cannot get everything we want, can we.
Disc two is where all of the fun lies. This disc is divided up into six sections to explore:
- “Action Sequences” – This section is quite fun… you get to see two featurettes, “Bus Jump Scene” and “Metrorail Crash”, multi-angle stunt comparisons, storyboard-to-film comparisons, and a storyboard of a eliminated sequence.
- “Inside Speed” – if you like featurettes, you will enjoy this section. This section contains the following featurettes: “On Location”, “Stunts”, & “Visual Effects”. Also included in this section are Graham Yost’s full-length screenplay, all 267 screens of text, and a production design gallery.
- “Interview Archives” – Go figure… this section features interviews with Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels, and Jan De Bont.
- ”Extended Scenes” – This section contains a compellation of five extended scenes. All of these scenes are enjoyable to watch… especially if you like this film.
- “Image Gallery” – If you like still images, you will get your fix here. This section includes eighteen full categories of stills.
- “Promotion” – This section contains an HBO First-Look Special on “The Making of Speed” which is quite good. Also included is a “Speed” music video, the theatrical trailer, and eleven TV spots.
Lastly, both discs have very nicely animated and scored menus. The menu entry sequences are very cool, and the navigation is clean and easy. This disc is jam-packed with goodies. If you want to dig deeper into this film and its production values… you will get your fill with this set.
Every action fan should really own this disc. Fox, once again, has proved that they are a premier DVD studio. This Five Star release is amongst their best… in terms of audio, video, and features. This film has never looked or sounded so good!
Special Features List
- Commentary by Jan De Bont
- Commentary by Graham Yost and Mark Gordon
- Extended Scenes
- Multiple Featurettes
- Original Screenplay
- Multi-Stream Storyboards
- HBO Special
- Poduction Design
- Music Video
- Image Gallery
- Trailer & 11 TV Spots