For all its flaws "Blown Away" is a very good action, thriller which only managed to avoid being a hit because it was released just one month after "Speed". With the choice of watching an action packed movie featuring hip young stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock or a movie with older stars Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, it is no surprise that the cinema going public chose "Speed". It's a shame that "Blown Away" never got the recognition it deserved as it has a much better plot and better characters who have real depth.
A huge bomb blast in the heart of Boston terrifies the community as well as some of the city's bomb disposal team. Never before have they dealt with a bomber with so much skill that they don't know how to combat him. That is everyone but Jimmy Dove (Jeff Bridges - Starman), he recognizes the bombers techniques and memories of his past life come back to haunt him. For the bomber is Irish extremist, Ryan Gaerity (Tommy Lee Jones - The Fugitive), a man who taught Jimmy all about bombs, but also blames him for having spent years in prison.
The main character in "Blown Away" is Jimmy Dove played by Jeff Bridges, a bomb expert who comes out of retirement to deal with his old mentor. Bridges could have easily played this character as an all out hero, but uses his talent to play a much more believable character whose early years in Ireland come back to haunt him. The bomber, Ryan Gaerity, is played by the brilliant Tommy Lee Jones. Jones is absolutely brilliant as the evil terrorist who is set on getting his revenge; even his Irish accent is believable.
There are also some excellent supporting performance from such notable names as Lloyd Bridges, Forest Whitaker and Suzy Amis. All in all the characters and performances in Blown Away are very good and really help to make this drama very appealing. Look out for a brief appearance by Cuba Gooding Jr. as a pupil at bomb school.
"Blown Away" is directed by Stephen Hopkins, who prior to this directed "Predator 2" but more recently has directed episodes of the hit series "24". Part of the beauty of this film is that Hopkins has not attempted to create an all out 100 mph, action packed, special effect driven monster. His directional style allows the story to unfold with out the need for huge effects every couple of minutes. The one time he has let the special effects do the talking, is the opening scene there Gaerity escapes from his prison cell.
The soundtrack to "Blown Away" features hits "With or With Out You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for" by Irish rock legends U2, along with this there are some excellent musical interludes created by the talented Alan Silvestri which demonstrate the emotions of the scenes.
What this all boils down to is that "Blown Away" is a good movie which has sadly been overlooked because it went up against the high octane action movie - Speed. In my opinion it is an unfair comparison, as Blown Away has a much better plot and more believable characters, where as Speed was all about young stars and special effects. If you like your action movies to have a decent plot and good characters then you will definitely enjoy this one.