(Review originally written at 26 December 2007)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not that I hate this movie, it's just an average one at best. It's an action movie with only small action moments at times and a story that is too simple and restrained due to its main setting; a bus.
I do admit that the movie deserves credit for its concept. I mean, this is obviously not the most expensive action movie of the '90's but due to its concept the movie at all times has a good fast pace and knows to provide the movie with action moments, though I never have really been impressed with the action in this movie. I think this has to do with the fact that the action tries to impress too much. You know, it's the sort of action movie that shows an explosion and big jump from 3 different angles and all in slow-motion as well. This is a style that was frequently used in '80's and '90's genre movies. I just never have been a big fan of this, with some exceptions to this here and there.
It was pretty nice to see Hollywood veteran Dennis Hopper as the main villain of the movie. It also was the movie that put him really back on the map for a while. This is also the movie that really launched Keanu Reeves' and Sandra Bullock's careers and as well that of director's Jan de Bont, who made his directorial debut with this movie. I also have the feeling that the former cinematographer is still working in Hollywood as a director due to the success of this movie. Because let's face it, all of his other directed movies were below average, with the exception of "Twister", though I seem to be one of the few that actually loved that film.
At some moments you can also really tell that this is de Bont's directorial debut. There are some typical beginner's clumsiness's and mistakes. I mean, just look at the goof section here on IMDb for this movie. It's like a never ending list! Just compare this to any other random movie on here. Some of the goofs are obviously more obvious than others in the movie but the goofs that are obvious are also really silly and clumsy one's, which mainly has to do with continuity.
The movie is for most part set on a bus, which is both it's strongest and weakest point. Strong because it keeps the movie fast paced as I had previously mentioned before and weak because it really restrains the movie in its story. I mean, let's face it, the story isn't exactly the best or most clever one ever written, even though the concept of it is still good and original. Because the movie is mostly set on a bus also the other scene's around it which are not set in the bus, and I'm also including the beginning and ending of the movie, feel quite out of context with the rest of the movie. It makes this also a fairly disjointed movie to watch. Especially the ending doesn't seem fitting. It feels like the sort of ending that was filmed shortly after a failed test-screening with an alternative ending. I feel that the movie would had been better off if it actually did ended on the bus instead of having this whole subway ending.
It's definitely a watchable movie, though by no means the must-see everyone makes this movie out to be.