Speed is one of the greatest action movies of the 1990s. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are faced with an all-time killer concept: If the bus they’re on goes below 55mph, it will explode. Assisted by a scenery-chewing performance from Dennis Hopper, it went on to become a gigantic hit and helped established both Reeves and Bullock as A-listers.
A sequel was inevitable, though when 1997’s Speed 2: Cruise Control arrived, Reeves was nowhere to be found. In his stead was Jason Patric, which is a considerable downgrade. No offense meant to Patric, but still.
Reeves was reportedly offered $12 million to return, but he turned the movie down, saying at the time that he wanted to take a break from the action genre. That isn’t exactly true though. In a 2018 interview, Reeves finally revealed the actual reason why he skipped out on the sequel: He thought the core idea of an out-of-control cruise ship was dumb. According to ScreenRant:
“It was about a cruise ship, and I was like … bus not so fast, but then a cruise ship is even slower than a bus. And I was just like, ‘I love you guys, but I just can’t do it’.”
This proved to be a smart move. Despite a lot of hype and a big marketing campaign, Speed 2 flopped hard. Critics tore apart the acting, story, and characters. As Reeves predicted, a slow-moving cruise ship just wasn’t as exciting as a runaway bus.
Speed 2: Cruise Control eventually made a measly $164 million worldwide against a budget of approximately $160 million and was nominated for a slew of Golden Raspberries. The Speed franchise was promptly parked and we haven’t seen another entry since, which may be for the best.
Meanwhile, Reeves has only gone from strength to strength. We have Matrix Resurrections arriving this December and John Wick 4 coming in May 2022. Perhaps in the future when Reeves offers an opinion on what makes a good action movie, studios will pay more attention.