Long before Keanu Reeves became a killing machine in John Wick, and shortly before he became the Chosen One in The Matrix, the young actor gained notoriety in action movies like Point Break and the one that brings us here today, Speed:Full Power.
The 1994 film directed by John de Bont and with a script of Graham Yosthad a very simple premise: a criminal planted a bomb in a city bus that, once it exceeded 50 kilometers per hour, would explode if the vehicle slowed below that speed.
It was all part of the revenge of the villain, Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), after Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and his partner, Harry (Jeff Daniels) botched an earlier plan.
If Keanu Reeves had played John Wick back then, he would have killed 500 people to get to the villain. But young Keanu was an idealist.
A film that forged Keanu Reeves’ love for action
Speaking on The Art of Action, the podcast of Scott Adkinswho recently participated in John Wick 4, Keanu Reeves has reminisced about his days playing this SWAT agent in Speed: Maximum Power and how ridiculous the premise seemed to him, something that motivated him.
“I had just done a movie about surfers robbing banks and now I’m doing a movie about a bus that can’t go more than 50 mph? It was fun and I liked that Jack Traven wanted to do good and save people. When I thought about Speed, I thought about the SWAT guys and I cut my hair. People in the movie were yelling at me: ‘What have you done?!’
I got all the wardrobe myself. Working on Speed got me back to things I enjoyed, like weapons training, and I got to work with a really wonderful stunt coordinator, Gary Hymes. At the time, the 105 Freeway was being built, so we had it all to ourselves.”
Almost 30 years have passed since the young Keanu Reeves saved the day and prevented the passengers of that bus that he had to drive impromptu Sandra Bullock explode with everyone inside.
Speed: Maximum power raised $350.4 million at the box officenot bad for one movie 1994. Keanu Reeves didn’t return for the sequel, but his commitment to action movies lives on today. The enemies of John Wick no, those are very dead.