“Speed” is the kind of film that transforms a major chunk of its runtime into a complex, elaborate set piece — there’s no room to breathe or slow down as Jack (Keanu Reeves) hops from one vehicle to another to stop them from blowing up. Annie (Sandra Bullock) finds herself in tight situations twice. At first, she has to drive a bus that will blow up if it dips below 50 miles per hour, and later, she’s forced to wear an explosive vest on a subway train that cannot be stopped.
The arsonist in question, Payne (a brilliant Dennis Hopper), is a wild card throughout, obsessed with extorting money via bomb threats and acting erratically whenever things do not go his way. After he handcuffs Annie to a pole, he fights with Jack on top of the moving train but is decapitated by a railway signal in the process.
Although Jack is able to deactivate the bomb, he is unable to free Annie or stop the train from crashing. In order to save her life, he accelerates the train, creating enough velocity to be able to jump the tracks. The duo is miraculously unharmed as the train crashes into a construction site and screeches to a halt on Hollywood Boulevard. The absurdity of the moment is undercut by the sweetness of the kiss they share, relieved to have survived such harrowing events and found love in an impossible scenario. The acceleration maneuver is a literal leap of faith, functioning both on a tangible and emotional level, where tenderness is found at the end of the line.
While “FUBAR” sports a completely different situation, the mechanics of accelerating the train to prevent collision are the same as that of “Speed.” If anything, the stakes are higher here.