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Point/Counterpoint: Speed vs. Con Air

Greetings friends! I'm a bit sad this week, because Gossip Girl was a rerun, I haven't seen a good Lifetime movie in awhile, The City is already getting predictable, and it'll still be a little while before the next cycle of America's Next Top Model begins. Sigh--what to do? Luckily, I have an endless stream of movies to watch on one of my many, fancy, channels. One film that's been playing nearly every day for awhile now in the HBO family is an old favorite, Speed. My good friend Chris and I recently began a conversation about which we preferred, Speed or Con Air. I've been giving it a lot of thought, and now, without further delay:


Speed: Male/female co-stars. I like the fact that Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves get to co-star in this film, though in the end, Bullock's character is little more than a damsel in distress, and Reeves has to come to her rescue not once, but twice. She's pretty feisty, though...and the mouth on her!

Con Air: Male ensemble cast. This flick is more of a boy's club, really. I guess there's his wife, but...doesn't count. I like the ensemble more than the focus on just two main characters, though (plus the villain). However, there is not a single strong female character in this movie. The only significant female characters are the wife, the child, and the female officer who becomes completely helpless and has to be rescued by Cage just like everyone else. Bullock isn't much of a strong female character either, but...at least she's present and sort of a fighter. She does drive the bus and aid in bringing those passengers to safety, after all (spoiler!)

Speed: Bus. OK, you've seen bomb movies before, but what if it happened on a BUS?!?! Any action that must happen on a movie vehicle of some sort is always going to be better than action happening on the boring ground. And when Keanu tries to deactivate the bomb FROM UNDERNEATH THE MOVING BUS my heart stops. Every time. [ED Note: My fave scene involving the bomb underneath the bus is when Alan Rudd is telling Keanu Reeves how to disarm it over the phone via Jeff Daniels who is still in the office on account of his shot leg from earlier in the movie...Keanu: "F*** ME!" Rudd: "...Oh darn!"]

Con Air: Plane. On a plane is always more intense than on a bus. Especially when it's full of CONS!!! If you think that action happening on a movie vehicle is more exciting than action happening on the non-moving ground, then take that moving vehicle and put it in the freaking sky. Bam! If I'm on a bus I can always jump off and sustain just minor injuries (50mph isn't really all that fast) but if I'm on a PLANE? Forget about it!

Speed: Not as star-studded. And...Keanue Reves in an action movie?? That'll never take.

Con Air: Totally star-studded. Cage, Malkovich, Buscemi, Cusack...

Speed: More witty one-liners. Now, don't get me wrong, both films are full of great one-liners. But I really think that, count for count, Speed as more. And they're a little bit more biting, especially those delivered by Bullock. My favorite?

Bullock: You should know that I've had my license suspended.
Reeves: What for?
Bullock: Speeding!

Oooh, zing!!

Con Air: More explosions. The dialogue might not be quite as tongue-in-check (Cage has his strengths, and I'm not sure that zingers is one of them...he always looks too stupidly serious) but Con Air definitely wins in number and size of explosions. And this movie isn't even about a bomb! Sorry Speed, you lose this one.

I think when it comes down to it, I have to say that I prefer Con Air, but only by a slight margin. The real reason is probably the actors more than anything else--I'll always prefer Nic Cage. I also think I like the excitement of a bunch of bad guys and only a few good guys in a dangerous, high explosion situation, versus a bunch of innocents, Sandra Bullock, and one devil may care hero fighting against just one crazy man with some bombs. Just one bad guy? How about a whole AIRPLANE FULL OF BAD GUYS??? However, what I'd REALLY like to see is some sort of crossover/sequel in which the cons hijack a bus which has a bomb strapped to it and is being watched by a separate, ex-police villain, all while Cusack tries to get "his bus" back to safety while Keanu wants to handle things his way, and it comes down to some some sort of ultimate battle in which one-liners actually turn into physical explosions and only one man is left standing.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 7:57 AM |  

    I've never been more proud to be married to you than I am now!

  2. Blogger chris | 8:00 AM |  

    This is, without a doubt, the best post that's been on The Blogulator in AGES.


    You forgot:
    -Dennis Hopper and his clown face
    -The elevator scene in the beginning and its incredible heartstopping TERROR/SUSPENSE
    -The subway scene at the end and its incredible heartstopping TERROR/SUSPENSE

    BUS + ELEVATOR + SUBWAY > AIRPLANE for like 20 minutes and the rest in the middle of the desert and a fire engine chase in Las Vegas

  3. Blogger qualler | 8:24 AM |  

    I totally agree with Chris. Con Air is great, sure, but SPEED IS lkv:LjfdlSKjfd;lFKDSJF;LSAKDFlkjdsf
    AWESOME. You can't compare a plane where people are just sitting there to the terror of YOU CAN'T GO BELOW 50 MILES PER HOUR OR YOU'LL BLOW UP. Plus, Sandy (I call her Sandy instead of Sandra) Bullock drives over those yellow things that are full of water to get back on the freeway, inexplicably crashes into all kinds of crap, and gets back on the freeway and LAUGHS ABOUT IT! Now that is grace under pressure.

    Plus, Keanu rocks, obvi.

    This is no contest.

  4. Blogger Unspar! | 9:40 AM |  

    I was about to make a comment about this blog's Keanu discrimination, but Chris and Qualler just saved the day. I'm glad to know that the namesakes of this blog will always defend the greatest actor of our generation.

  5. Blogger Lady Amy | 10:14 AM |  

    I gotta agree with Brigitte here. Sure, Keanu is great, but Con Air has Nick Cage and his ability to look simultaneously sad, calm, and like he's going to kick your ass.

    Plus, it has that one Trisha Yearwood song that was really popular in middle school.

  6. Blogger Brigitte | 12:55 PM |  

    Chris--the very fact that I "forgot" to mention those things must have meant that they weren't really all that cool. And I'm sort of the authority on COOL. I also thought the stuff in the desert was great--they airplane pulls a car! more explosions! it's their chance to escape but they don't quite make it! this is somewhat like the scene in which keanu is under the bus trying to dismantle the bomb, but it's way cooler. and the stuff in Vegas is great, too--way better than some empty subway ending. Vegas was full of people!! the subway was empty--only Sandy and the bad guy and keanu were battling it out. and really, your equation is faulty, because the bus, elevator, and subway are not all happening at the same time. they are three every day boring things (unlike a plane full of cons) happening in sequence.

  7. Blogger Brigitte | 12:56 PM |  

    i also want to reemphasize that i really really like both movies, but in the end i have to pick con air as my fav.

  8. Blogger qualler | 12:59 PM |  

    Wrong again, Brigitte. I take back what I said -- I've never been more ASHAMED to be married to you is now what I meant.

    Sure, generally, a setting full of people + explosions = a good movie time (but a terrifying real life experience). But, Subway + Dennis Hopper Meeting His End By Getting His Head Chopped Off By A Thing Above The Subway (HEAD CHOPPED THE F OFF!!!!!!!#I@#$*) > Boring-by-comparison Vegas. That's an equation you can't argue with.

    You wanna talk equations. Let's say you have an equation and then I have an equation that totally outdoes your equation. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?

  9. Blogger chris | 1:01 PM |  

    Okay, but you really need to break both movies down in social-realist terms to understand the awesomeness of Speed.

    How often do ordinary people use elevators, buses, and subways? EVERYDAY.

    How often do ordinary people get on airplanes full of ex-cons and/or an abandoned desert airfield and/or Las Vegas? NEVER.

    Because of Speed, I never get on an elevator, bus, or the subway the same way as if I had never seen Speed.

    Because of Con-Air, I have an awesome recollection of an escapist fantasy action movie, but nothing more.


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