- 1 hr 56 min
Los Angeles police officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) becomes entangled with an embittered former Atlanta bomb squad member. Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), who lost his livelihood when he was maimed while defusing a bomb, feels the world owes him a better retirement. He wants both a reward more in line with the value of his work than his retirement pay and compensation for his pain and suffering. He is intent on using his expertise in bombs to extract the money he feels he is due. They first meet when Jack foils Howard's attempt to hold people hostage in an elevator in a high rise. After the hostages are rescued, Howard takes Jack's partner Harry hostage, who orders Jack to shoot him in the leg. His compliance forces Howard to abandon his hostage, thus saving Harry's life. Having been denied satisfaction, Howard uses his gold retirement watch as part of the mechanism on a bus. The bomb will arm if the bus goes above 50 mph and explode if it then drops below that speed. Jack manages to get on the bus. Unfortunately, the bomb is already armed. The police focus on keeping the bus at speed while they search for a means to safely get the passengers off and track down the bomber. After the bus driver is injured, one passenger, Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock), rises to the occasion to take his place. For much of the drama, she drives the bus. Her impromptu partnership with Jack becomes a detail upon which success hinges. They end up being the last two people on the bus. Even after they safely escape, the role she played now has her mired in this revenge plot: Howard takes her hostage. The speed trap of the bus gets replayed in brief on the subway. After Howard is finally killed, Annie and Jack decide their personal bond is worth exploring further. Thus, they decide to date.