As chief reviewer at TheSpoof.com, I was delighted to be offered the third in the trilogy of Speed films, starring Sandra Bollock. The review copy came from my contact down the local hostelry, who assured me that the film would be suitable for Jewish families, in that it was Kosher.
I remember the initial two parts to this highly successful film franchise. The first saw Bollock as an unconvincing bus driver endlessly circling an airport at fifty-five miles an hour to avoid blowing up. The second was set on a cruise ship that couldn't stop.
The cover on this DVD was quite a crude image, with faded text and barely legible writing. It looked for all the world like a photocopy, but as this was a preview copy it may be that the production version would be better quality.
After sitting through the FBI warning about how watching pirated videos is funding the kidnapping of Australian youths backpacking in Honduras, and a second warning about not videoing films in the cinema, the action got under way.
The third film sees Bollock driving a Toyota Prius in down-town Los Angeles, when the accelerator sticks in the flat-out position, whilst the breaks have also been tampered with and cannot be depressed. In the car with her are her baby daughter and current boyfriend, played rather surprisingly by Rob Pattycake. Given the thirty year age gap between the two, it may have been more suitable to cast him as her son.
Echoing back to the high-speed freeway madness of the original film, this new incarnation of the trilogy has several scenes of mild peril, something that should be indicated on the box. These scenes are from the start with the action beginning from the off, on a busy LA freeway.
The action follows the car as it hurtles around LA unable to stop and attaining it's maximum speed of over eighty miles an hour within twenty-minutes of the film starting. Knowing the maximum speed and acceleration of the Toyota Prius, this is completely believable. Once it is known that the car is a runaway, there are plenty of scenes of the television helicopter, and others of the police managing to clear intersections with seconds to spare. Rughead Hauer plays Jack Carr, the foremost Toyota Mechanic outside of Japan, brought in to sort out the problem.
As the film progresses, there are cut scenes showing Hauer discarding several plans to stop the runaway with much arm waving. Meanwhile Bollock has leapt over a construction crew and slalomed at top speed through the wreckage of a road traffic accident with leaking fuel that explodes behind her car as a stray spark from the Prius as it clips the central reservation.
The film does successfully keep the tension building right to the end, where Hauer is lowered from a television helicopter, before ripping the hood off the car. Holding onto the car with one hand, he attempts to fix the problem, hampered by Bollock having to drive into oncoming traffic with trucks perilously close to Hauer's body. He remains on even after one tyre blows out, causing Bollock to steer wildly and crash through a barrier and onto the streets below, heading straight for a level crossing, where a train is approaching.
Whether Hauer prevents the car crashing into the train or not I will not reveal, not because this would spoil the ending, but because the film ended prematurely with a voice over asking if somebody called "Oyyou" could leave the cinema. A strange way to end a preview copy, and it spoiled my enjoyment somewhat.
In summary, the film is quite predictable in parts, but it does keep the tension wound tight throughout. I am awarding this film three spoof stars due to the lack of ending, poor box quality and odd casting choice of Rob Pattyhead who barely says a word throughout the entire film and they could have enhanced the film by removing him.