SPEED goofs list, 5.1 (spoilers)




Created by legeros@pagesz.net


i.     Introduction
ii.    Changes to 5.1
I.     Elevator Sequence
II.    Freeway Sequence
III.   Bus Jump Sequence
IV.    Airport Sequence
V.     Subway Sequence
VI.    Etc.

i. Introduction
The first five sections of this list only contain VERIFIED goofs. Said
gaffes can be continuity errors, logic flaws, whathaveyou. Any goof that
can be reasonably explained (and agreed upon) is moved to the section on

For example, the query "why didn't all the two-way radio signals set off
the bomb" is not a goof. Hopper is shown, later, using a cellular phone
to trigger the bomb.

Anyone who can explain (or can agree on an explanation) is encouraged to
reply. Some goofs may be, later, relegated to a section on "Missing
Scenes." For example: the most likely explanation for "why Reeves and
Daniels don't seem winded after climbing 30+ floors in a split second"
is that they cut a scene of them riding an elevator up to the 30th

Finally, almost all of these entries were submitted in good spirit. Most
of us agree that SPEED is a dynamite film and these observations are a
testament to our enjoyment.

ii. Changes to 5.1

All goofs, gaffes, questions, and answers are no longer separated into
seperate sections.  Everything will be listed in the appropriate 
section, using the following symbols:

        G:  Gaffe
        Q:  Question
        A:  Answer
        E:  Explanation
        M:  Missing Scene

I. Elevator Sequence

Q: Why didn't the guard call someone when he found something strange,
   per standard security protocol?  In some cases, procedure is to call
   in anything odd.  Even if this is not the policy here, however, it
   would be standard for the guard to call in every 15-30 minutes. (from
   gbyshenk@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu and jdnicoll@engrg.uwo.ca)

G: When Reeves and Daniels pull up to the scene, you can clearly see
   skid marks from earlier takes. (from johnt@dadd.ti.com)

Q: Are Reeves and Daniels from SWAT/TAC or "bomb disposal?" No, there
   was no SWAT ID on their gear - the filmmakers left it squishy. But if
   this -had- been the bomb squad, Jeff Daniels (clearly established as
   a bomb techie) would not not NOT have been partnered with Keanu "I
   just work here" Reeves. Their TAC weaponry was also way out of line
   with the needs of a bomb detail. (from preacher@mit.edu)

Q: How could Reeves and Daniels run up 30+ floors without getting winded
   or exhausted?  And in 20 minutes or less?  (from DEHP@calvin.edu and
A: Missing scene of them taking an elevator to the 30th floor and then
   going from there? (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

G: If the crane was going to snap loose, it would have done so during
   the first fall when the elevator had all the momentum. Physics. (from

Q: Is a roof-crane cable, like the one shown, rated to withstand the
   weight of a full elevator?  (from legeros@unx.sas.com)
A: The cable probably would withstand the weight for a brief time (less
   than an hour order of magnitude); but I doubt it would withstand the
   shock it took in the movie. (from bh1t+@andrew.cmu.edu)

Q: Why didn't the elevator counterweight bend out the doors before the 
   elevator did?  (from carol@edfua0.ctis.af.mil)
A: The counterweight is smaller than the elevator... it won't buckle, it
   won't bend, it probably won't bounce.  What it _will_ do is go
   straight down and hit very hard. The elevator, on the other hand, is
   not as structurally strong as a solid piece of metal, and it's
   significantly larger. When it hit, the walls and door buckled,
   probably outwards, it probably crumpled asymmetrically, and part of
   it probably crumpled outwards towards the ground-floor door.  (from

M: Were there body parts in the parking deck that were attributed to
   Hopper?  The body of the guard, perhaps?  (from

Q: If the body parts found in the explosion were attributed to Hopper,
   didn't anyone become suspicious when the security guard came up
   missing?  (from kazel@uiuc.edu)

II. Freeway Sequence

G: When the first bus blows up, there is a van directly in front of it
   going the same speed and pulling the bus with a rope. (from many, 
   including blorton@crl.com)

G: After the first bus blows up, Keanu is told that the money must be
   given by 11:00.  He then checks his watch (a Casio) which is
   displaying the ALARM time of 8:05.  So what time is it?  (from

Q: Wouldn't an old Ford Bronco tip over, trying to make the moves as
   depicted in the movie?  (from dcarter@supra.East.Sun.COM)

Q: When Jack was chasing the bus on foot, and the bus wasn't traveling
   too fast, why didn't he just pull out his gun, and shoot out the
   tires?  (from brianvan@bga.com)

G: In the rush-hour highway scenes, the car density on the highway keeps
   changing.  The overhead helicopter shots show pretty thin (by L.A.
   standards) traffic volume, but the on-the-ground shots show a much
   busier highway. (from raymondc@microsoft.com)

Q: How did the driver of the commandeered car end up seemingly uninjured
   after striking those barrels without wearing a seatbelt?  (from
A: He got saved by an airbag.  Those suckers deflate really fast, so any
   reaction shot wouldn't show anything (except for a big white bag
   hanging out of the steering column).  (from raymondc@microsoft.com)

Q: How the bus could manuver in heavy LA traffic?
A: There are also lanes along the divider of most freeways which are
   reserved for emergency vehicles.  The bus could have used them, but
   didn't.  I've made the run along the 10 from L.A. to Santa Monica a
   number of times, and I doubt I've had to go below 50mph, unless it is
   rush hour.

   The bus had help from the cops only when it was on city streets and
   the Century Freeway.  (from dickson@merope.caltech.edu)

Q: How could a bus swideswipe so many cars and not drop below 50?
   (from bigboote.WPI.EDU)

Q: How could a bus make the 90-degree turn?
A: I know firemen who claim to have cut corners, ala SPEED, and have
   lifted two of four wheels off the ground. (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

G: Tilting mechanism visible during infamous 90-degree turn. (from
   various including nyberg@ctron.com)

Q: Why do the police leave the bus driver on the flatbed? (He's visible
   right before the bus takes a flying leap.) (from

Q: How do you explain the map error?
A: The map company put in an error to provide proof in the event of
   copyright violation by another map company!  (from

   Better explanation: a mistake. My experience in traffic reporting is 
   that map "misquoting" is common. (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

III. Bus Jump Sequence

Q: Can any vehicle jump a gap, as depicted? 
A: Yes.

Q: Without a ramp and still make it? 
A: No.

   A bus travelling at 70mph will drop 4 feet by the time it has
   travelled 50 feet from a drop-off, and take a half a second to get

   Here's how:

   V at Time(zero sec.)=0 feet/sec.
   V at Time(0.5 sec.)=16 feet/sec.
   Average V=8 feet/sec.
   8 feet/sec for .5 seconds = 4 feet.

   (from nyberg@mer-mail.ctron.com)

G: Said ramp is visible. (from gbyshenk@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu, among others)

IV. Airport Sequence

Q: Why were normal airport operations continuing (planes taxying, taking
   off, etc.) while a bus packed with explosives was in the immediate
   area?  (from kazel@uiuc.edu) 

   Doesn't the FAA have rules requiring the "shutting down" of the
   *entire* facility during an event of this sort?  (from

G: Early (overhead) shot shows billboard missing from the left side of
   the bus. Later shots show billboard mysteriously returned.  (from

Q: How can Reeves so calmly step onto the running board of the a vehicle
   traveling 50 mph.
A: He just did it. Ridding a running board is easy.  I've done it one 
   fire trucks travelling the same speed. (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

Q: How can Reeves hold onto the underside of a bus traveling at 50mph for
   so long?  How did he get from the lower half of the undercarriage to
   the access panel without scraping his legs on the ground?  (from

Q: Why didn't all the fuel didn't leak out of that sure-looked-big hole?
A: The hole wasn't on the very bottom of the tank.  Pour a paper cup
   half-full of water. Poke a hole in the cup one quarter of the way up the
   cup. Half of the water will run out, and then stop.  The gas tank on
   the bus, however, probably sloshed a good bit, and therefore
   continued to dribble gas out of the hole.  (from

Q: Why doesn't the fuel run out as fast as the gauge moves?
A: The rate of decrease of fuel in the tank (of almost any vehicle) is
   NOT linearly proportional to the movement of the gauge over the
   entire range of the gauge.  For example, in my car, when the tank is
   half full, the gauge will drop down slower towards the empty sign
   than when the tank is 1/4 full.  (from G.Sanderson@ais.gu.edu.au)

Q: How can Hopper read the insignia of Bullock's sweatshirt on such a 
   seemingly small monitor?
A: The monitor size is no problem, he obviously had quite a video setup
   and could easily have switched it to one of the larger screens.
   Whether the camera would have enough resolution to read it is a
   better question.  (from guy.weathersby@sandiego.ncr.com)

Q: Why else would he call her "wildcat?"
A: He was crazy, not stupid.  He was also very thorough.  He must have
   ridden on the bus a couple of times to make sure the route was
   possible.  If he did this a few times over the course of a month or
   so, he would have noticed Bullock's character as a regular rider (she
   had obviously been riding for a while, since she knew the driver's
   name and was friendly with him). Hopper also seemed to have a habit
   of using nicknames ("hotshot" or "wildcat"),so that wasn't too much
   of a stretch.  (from cirby@gate.net)

Q: Can you really loop video tape?
A: You can't, but I can, with a screwdriver, a razor blade, and some
   editing tape... and so could anybody who's been in the video industry
   for more than, say, ten years or has taken a class in AV production
   on obsolete equipment (assuming they weren't using Digital Betacam or
   something similar).

   (That was 3/4" U-Matic they had on hand, wasn't it?) Of course, they
   probably didn't do that... that van looked pretty up-to-date, and
   probably didn't have an editing block on hand.  However, if that van
   DID have a non-linear editor on board, it'd be entirely possible for
   them to loop a digital store of the footage.  Unlikely, but
   possible.  Alternatively, with a little creative work, they could
   have done two tapes and flipped between them.  (from

Q: Why do Reeves and Bullock appear to be moving "backward" when then 
   escape the bus?
A: When Reeves amd Bullock slide off of the bus, they're originally
   travelling at the same speed as the bus.  Once they're on the ground
   sliding, the friction starts slowing them down, and the pop out from
   under the bus.  They are going the same direction as the bus, but
   since they're slowing down while the bus stays at a constant speed,
   it appears that they're going the opposite direction.  You can
   clearly see in the next scene that they are travelling forward as
   they skid to a halt on the dirt, while the bus goes off to meet the
   cargo plane. (from pestka@willow)

Q: Why wasn't the driver of the towing vehicle (of the plane) injured in
   the explosion?  (from bandguy@osuunx.ucc.okstate.edu)

Q: Why didn't the news media, who was on the ground and outside the
   restricted runaway area, report the explosion of a jet?  (from

Q: Why didn't Hopper hear the airport fire units traffic on his
   scanner?  Surely he would've started to monitor those frequencies
   once the plane went boom boom. (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

Q: Why didn't Hopper notice, on his tracking device, that the bus
   stopped moving (after it blew up?) (from sysop@elan.rowan.edu)

V. Subway Sequence

Q: Why were passengers boarding a subway car that was heading to the
   "end of the line?" (from bigboote.WPI.EDU)
A: After the villain takes control of the train (and perhaps after he is
   killed; I don't remember for sure), there is a quick scene showing
   the train exiting a station platform without having stopped.  In
   other words, there was at least one completed station between the
   place where the passengers boarded and the end of the line. (from

Q: How can Hopper climb and fight while still holding
   the detonator?
A: He's holding a deadman's switch. The switch obviously has a bit of
   leeway built in, as evidenced by the scene with Hopper taunting his
   hostage by letting the switch go, and then quickly snapping it back
   down. (from r.furr@genie.geis.com)

Q: Why does the subway abruptly end?
A: Because it does. In real life, the LA system is still under
   construction. There was no more line. (from legeros@unx.sas.com)

Q: Why didn't Reeves move all those explosives to the back of the
   train when he knew he was going to crash?  Or drop them off the
   train, entirely?  (from sasbck@unx.sas.com)

Q: Why didn't Reeves try the "emergency brakes" that the customers can
   access?  Admittedly, the "main" emergency brakes at the "dashboard"
   (console) were out, but why would other emergency brakes be out?
   (from smayer@netcom.com)

Q: Where were Reeves and Bullock going to jump to from a 45mph+ subway

Q: Why didn't the train stop automatically?  At least on the NYC subway
   the signal system includes physical trips (ask over in rec.railroad
   for the correct name) that activate the train's breaks if the train
   goes past a signal that is against the train.  You can see them go up
   and down as the signals change colors.  When there is a work crew on
   the tracks they often use portable trips that can be placed along the
   track before the train gets to the work area. (from

Q: Why did the police call the train, to tell Reeves that the track was
   unfinished, but no one called to tell the workers about a runaway
   train?  (from guy.weathersby@sandiego.ncr.com)
A: Because Reeves couldn't call back to tell them he was "runaway."

Q: Why couldn't the power simply be shut down to the train:  (from

A: Reeves tried to respond to the message from the chief, but the
   train's radio wasn't working.  Ergo, he couldn't call anybody and
   tell them (1) where he was, (2) what sort of trouble he was in.
   (from raymondc@microsoft.com)

Q: Why doesn't either the subway's deadman switch OR the train's
   accelerator (to slow the train) work?
A: The controls are obviously damaged. (from gbyshenk@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu)

Q: Why are do the lights flicker, when the train has left the tracks
   and which is presumably the source of its power?  (from
A: Subway cars have reserve electrical power, in the event of a power
   outage during normal usage. Sounds good to me! (from

Q: Can a derailed subway car *really* skid as far as depicted?

G: During the subway skidding scene, sparklers are clearly seen shooting
   sparks several inches down on pavement.  Sparks should be coming from
   metal/pavement contact. (from carol@edfua0.ctis.af.mil)

VI. Etc.

G: Bullock can't look away from the road for up to 15 to 20 minutes.  
   Try it: sit in your car, imagine you are going 50+ mph, then look
   toward the passenger seat as if there were someone there to converse
   with.  (from gbyshenk@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu)

Q: Why does Bullock accompany Reeves to the drop point?  (from

Q: Why was Daniels, both the "brains" of the bomb squad and recently
   disabled, leading the assault team?  (Instead of sitting behind the
   desk after recently being shot.) (from jamestyu@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu)

Q: Why does Daniels keep alternating his "cane leg?"
A: If you're trying to take the weight off an injured right leg, you're
   supposed to use the cane on the left side (your weight is supposed to
   stay on the opposite side all the time).
   However, I can attest from personal experience that unless you use a
   cane every day, it's easier to switch back and forth depending on
   which arm is most up to the challenge and/or what works best with the
   furniture layout wherever you are at the time. (from

G: As the bus and police cars pass under the camera you can see elongated
   shadows of all vehicles--including the camera crane!!--on the left
   side of the screen. (from johnt@dadd.ti.com)

G: Reflections of camera crew spotting in various windows at various
   times (such as when Reeves is trying to get the driver's attention
   and when the passengers are being off-loaded). (from various
   including mcelhane@cherokee.nsuok.edu)

G: Film is speeded up in the 90-degree turn and when Reeves is lowered
   beneath the bus. (from darrenl@natinst.com)

G: For someone who has just gotten more stitches in her leg than a
   football, Annie seems to be walking around pretty normal.  (E.g.,
   when she walks out of the ambulance.) (from raymondc@microsoft.com)

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

[an error occurred while processing this directive]