Speed Kills has Travolta doing his best with his natural charm and it’s not without its moments but his hairpiece is distracting and the story itself feels like something we’ve seen done better many times before.
Plot: Wealthy speedboat racer Ben Aranoff leads a double life that gets him into trouble with both law enforcement and drug lords.
Review: John Travolta stars alongside an incredibly unconvincing hairpiece in this unremarkable movie based on the true story of Speedboat racing champion and multimillionaire, Ben Aronoff (Don Aronow is his real name), who leads a double life that lands him in trouble with the law and drug lords.
It’s predictable stuff and not exactly packed with action but it does get quite tense in the second half. It’s apparently historically inaccurate using boats that weren’t even around in the 60’s as well as several other gaffs so you would have thought more research would have gone into making a biographical film.
Travolta does what he can bringing his natural charm to Aronoff but even with that he still isn’t a particularly likeable or sympathetic character. He’s one of these people who doesn’t even notice that what he is doing is wrong and he happily cheats on his wife regularly and is never there for his family. It’s also rather creepy watching this man in his 60’s hooking up with women in their 20’s; they don’t really try to de-age him so it just looks weird.
Set in Miami (but not filmed there) Speed Kills at times looks nice with a Miami Vice vibe especially in terms of the music which definitely felt like a nod to the classic show. There is some impressive photography of the speedboat scenes (using old footage) but it would have been more interesting to have some more race scenes to add a bit of tension. For the most part it looks like Travolta is actually in the boats but there is only one scene during a storm with some unconvincing visual effects but I’ve seen worse.
Kellan Lutz plays Robby Reemer who is a one-note character and makes little impact but he is certainly hateful enough.
Aside from that there isn’t much to recommend the film; the performances are alright but it feels cheap and is the type of movie you’ll forget about after 10 minutes.
Overall, Speed Kills is one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen due only to John Travolta’s hairpiece which is distracting throughout the entire film. It is occasionally tense but it’s generally a bland and dull tale only capturing some of the real-life story.