- And You Thought It Would Fail:
- While filming Demolition Man, Rob Schneider befriended Sandra Bullock. Upon hearing the premise of her follow-up project, Schneider incorrectly dismissed what he called "this bus movie" as something that wouldn't succeed at the box office.
- While making the film, Jeff Daniels thought it would not be successful. He reversed his opinion after seeing the finished product.
- When Jan de Bont first got the script and found out it took place on a bus, he thought, "That's going to be boring."
- Awesome Music: The whole soundtrack applies. The recurrent main theme fits the tone of the movie to a T, and the general tempo of the music always reinforces the sense of speed.
- Catharsis Factor: Given what a monster he is, seeing Payne get decapitated is very satisfying.
- Complete Monster: Howard Payne, feeling "cheated" by his former police department for giving him what he saw as a pathetic severance package after he lost a finger on the job, became obsessed with getting the money he believes he is owed. To this end, Payne rigs an elevator filled with people to drop them to their deaths unless he is paid $3 million, and quickly tries to kill the hostages when he believes the police are trying to save them. After failing at this plan, Payne blows up a commuter bus in front of SWAT team member Jack Traven, then reveals he has planted a bomb on another bus filled with innocents, stating that until he gets $3.7 million, the bus will have to stay above 50 mph lest it explode. When an elderly woman tries to get off the bus, Payne detonates a mini bomb that kills her, and, after the police seemingly locate him, Payne reveals it was a trap and blows up the numerous SWAT team members sent to arrest him, a fact that he happily taunts Jack about. After Jack manages to save the hostages, Payne takes Jack's Love Interest hostage, planning to blow her up as a distraction for the police while he makes his getaway, and guns down an innocent man when he attempts to alert the authorities to Payne. Smug and with a creepily cheerful personality even whilst committing his various atrocities, Howard Payne took his feelings of being "cheated" by the government way too far, refusing to see any reason and showing a sick sadism that all reveal him to be nothing but a homicidal monster.
- Ending Fatigue: The subway chase at the end is almost completely divorced from the main body of the film and seems to be there just to engineer a showdown between Payne and Traven - after all, they couldn't exactly get the bad guy onto the bus in any plausible way. Some people who haven't seen the film in a few years even find they had completely forgotten about the whole subway part.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Annie at point wonders if Payne targeted them because the U.S. bombed his country. Eight years later, another 20th Century Fox production also featured Dennis Hopper playing the villain to a protagonist named Jack, and part of his motivation did involve revenge for his home being bombed by the hero.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Pop quiz, hotshot," which is spoken over and over by Harry and Payne.
- The general idea of a vehicle that can't slow down without a bomb going off has been parodied endlessly. One example being the deadly wheelchair in South Park. Father Ted had an episode titled "Speed 3", where the vehicle was a milk float, which runs little faster than five miles an hour.
- Nightmare Fuel: Howard Payne is made of this, given how far he's willing to go to achieve what he feels is owed to him. He manages a decent-sized body count before all is said and done.
- One-Scene Wonder: Maurice is pretty amusing even as he reluctantly aids Jack in getting aboard the bus.
- Retroactive Recognition: Richard Schiff, very early in his career, plays the subway conductor in the final sequence.
- Special Effects Failure:
- The ramp that the bus goes over during the bridge jump scene is visible. As are the shadows of the (digitally removed) gap of the bridge.
- In some shots a camera can be spotted mounted onto the bus.
- There's also the "Obviously a model" subway car during the climax.
- Look closely at the scene where the first bus is blown up and you can clearly see the camera crew in the distance as well as a truck dragging the flaming bus by a chain.
- Early in the film the bus sends a car flying up a flatbed tow truck. A careful observer can clearly make out the extra wheels mounted on the undercarriage to aid in the car's flight off the truck.
- In the final shot of the film, it is obvious that the unfinished track from which the subway train has emerged is merely a false backdrop, with no other fixtures to indicate the presence of a track there.
- When the bus rams into the airplane, a door can be seen blowing off its left side, indicating it is in fact a different bus as such a feature was not present on the bus used through most of the film, and was actually on its right side.
- Strangled by the Red String:
- Jack and Annie. After knowing each other for all of a few hours, they're making out and about to have sex in a wrecked subway car in the middle of a street with a crowd of people watching. Truth in Television, people bond over traumatic experiences quickly regardless of compatibility. They both lampshade this.Jack: I have to warn you, I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.Annie: OK. We'll have to base it on sex then.
- In the sequel, they've broken up - although many like to pretend that the sequel never happened.
- Jack and Annie. After knowing each other for all of a few hours, they're making out and about to have sex in a wrecked subway car in the middle of a street with a crowd of people watching. Truth in Television, people bond over traumatic experiences quickly regardless of compatibility. They both lampshade this.
YMMV / Speed