Harold Payne (Dennis Hopper) has rigged an elevator to blow if he is not given 3 million dollars. He doesn't want to hurt anyone he just figures he's been screwed and wants what he feels is owed him. Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and Det. Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) are on the scene to try and diffuse the bomb and get some 13 people off the elevator. Jack has an idea about using the crane on the roof and attaching some cable to the elevator to try and catch it if the regular cables are blown or break.
The bomber blows the cables and the elevator falls. Luckily the idea works and the people are saved. Jack thinks the bomber is still in the building and they find him around the service elevators . Unfortunately he gets away.
Some time later Jack is standing outside a building where a commendation ceremony in his honor is being held a bus blows up. A nearby payphone rings and it's Howard Payne. This time he tells Jack that a bus has a bomb on it and if he is not paid he will blow it up. Don't succeed the first time try, try again.
Howard tells Jack that if the bus goes below 50 mph it will blow up and gives him the bus number and hangs up.
Jack finds the bus and gets on board. The driver gets hurt and Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) takes over driving. She is told about the going below 50mph and she does the best she can do. Jack is in contact with Harry and they do what they can to stop Howard again.
You know more and more you see this kind of movie popping up in reality. People like Howard Payne who have been screwed over or are just screwed up take hostages and try to weasel money out authorities. Director Jan de Bont has a wonderful cast to work with and the action scenes are some of the best ever done on film. This is non stop action and is probably one of the best action movies ever made. Enjoy.