Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Speed, the 1994 delight that made Sandra Bullock a movie star, gave us the classic action catchphrase “pop quiz, hotshot,” and served as the backbone of my sleepover movie-watching for a solid six years. Happy anniversary, Speed. I love you very much. So much, in fact, that I can’t help wondering: If next summer is going to bring us a new Jurassic Park movie, and we’re going to have new Star Wars movies, and maybe a new Independence Day, why not Speed 3?
Don’t let the abject horrendousness of Speed 2 cloud your memory: The original Speed is superb. Graham Yost is now best known for Justified, and the uncredited Joss Whedon (who wrote most of the dialogue, according to Yost) now runs a full one-eighth of the world, but just imagine if they got the band back together! There would be so many wisecracks and sarcastic asides! Sandra Bullock has her serious movies now with The Blind Side and Gravity, but she still did The Heat, and she hasn’t made a viable romantic movie since The Proposal five years ago. She’s due. Keanu Reeves could take a break from directing and dip back into his action-hero persona. Bring back the people from the elevator and the bus, even. Joe Morton. Alan Ruck. The more the merrier.
Plotwise, sure, we don’t need another “bus that couldn’t slow down,” per Homer Simpson. But domestic terrorism has a different kind of hold on the American consciousness now than it did in 1994; Speed came out a year before the Oklahoma City bombing and five years before Columbine. It came out before 9/11 and the “war on terror” and shoe-bombers and no drinks past this point and if you see something say something, before “IED” was part of the general civilian lexicon. A movie about an evil, creative bomb designer is more relevant and resonant today than 20 years ago.
The Lake House proved that there’s still a substantial appetite for a Bullock/Reeves pairing (as if we needed proof of something so obvious); we know franchise films are more likely to get made than standalone movies; action films appear to be everywhere, etc. etc. There are all kinds of practical reasons I genuinely believe a Speed 3 could and should happen. But on a personal level, I just really want another — good — Speed movie because the original is so dear to me. It is the only film for which I am willing to break my very serious, strict rule about not watching movies in which characters visibly or audibly chew gum. (Speaking of gum, “I’ve got gum on my seat. Gu-uum!”) I like when characters in action movies make jokes not for the audience’s benefit but for the benefit of the other characters, and I like when people use mass transit. Bad Guy — or, dare I dream, Bad Girl — wants to blow something up to prove a point; Annie is somehow there/on board; Jack swoops in; he and Annie brilliantly and sexily collaborate; the day is saved. How hard can this be? Bring me a Speed 3, universe.