Speed Crash

If you are the sort of person that watches movies, chances are that you have seen Speed. Given this category, you’ve most likely seen Crash too. But there is a slight risk that you might not have connected the dots and thought: daym, Crash is the obvious sequel to Speed.

You remember the plot of Speed. A bomb is placed on a bus, and the villain makes it known that if this bus ever goes slower than a certain speed, it’s going to go boom. Which, while mildly contrived, makes for an interesting social situation: whoever happens to be on that bus at that particular time will have to stay on the bus. No matter their race, gender, class or anything – they are bodies in a space, and have to deal with it.

This undifferentiation of difference makes a difference. There is no escape, there is no recourse to being anywhere else. Someone else. The traumatic experience of the bomb makes it abundantly clear that the only thing that matters is the body, as an undifferentiated unidentified biological entity. We are all of the same flesh, and death comes to all of us. At an equal speed.

These themes are not explored in as much depth as they warrant. The plot revolves around the bomb and the attempt to diffuse it. Rather than the social situation that the bomb creates. Which is something of a wasted opportunity – so much more could have been done with the set and setting. Instead they were thrown under the – don’t hurt me – bus.

Enter Crash.

They kept the theme of being in traffic. Transit. But the bomb is nowhere to be seen, and we are left to deal with the issues revolving around being bodies occupying the same space. Such as in the titular introductory crash, where lives socially apart are brought together under catastrophic conditions. Boom.

There are several throwbacks to Speed, as is befitting any sequel. One of them is the reappearance of Sandra Bullock. Another is the scene where two of the tagonists (there are no pro- or an-) discuss the nature of bus windows. Subtle nods, unsubtle crashes – keeping in theme.

What makes Crash a more haunting movie is the realization that we are all still on the bus. There is no bomb, there is no villain, there is no speed limit – but we are all here, on board, embodied. Differentiated, yet moving in the same direction. We are all moving towards death at an equal pace, and what we have to do is make do while enjoying the ride.

We of the traumatic flesh.

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