Character mistake: There is no way on earth that a police officer would shoot a hostage in the thigh to 'take them out of the equation'. Anyone who suggested such a thing would likely be taken out and shot themselves. Bullet wounds to the thigh are often fatal, as an injury to the femoral artery causes massive and frequently unstoppable blood loss. Breaking the femur often leads to fat embolisms as bone marrow gets into the bloodstream and then to the lungs. In fact a broken femur is a life threatening injury in itself, and a shattered femur - a typical bullet injury - would almost always result in a total amputation. You cannot aim carefully enough to avoid the bone or artery as their position in the body varies, (as will the bullet trajectory upon impact). Jack is an experienced cop and would know the potentially disastrous consequences of shooting someone in the thigh. He'd shoot him in the foot. (00:21:05)
Directed by: Jan de Bont
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper, Joe Morton, Alan Ruck
Howard Payne: See, I'm in charge here! I drop this stick, and they pick your friend here up with a sponge! Are you ready to die, friend?
Harry: Fuck you!
Howard Payne: Oh! In two hundred years we've gone from "I regret but I have one life to give for my country" to "Fuck you!"?
Trivia: In this movie the only reason why Howard Payne is trying to blow the elevator and the buses is because he wants money. He also gets very upset when the paint explodes in the bag. If you look on the back of bus 2525 there's a green sign that says "Money isn't everything (Yeah Right)".
Question: Why did Jack think the only option available with the gap in the freeway was to jump it? Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to at least try to ring Payne and explain what was happening? A simple "We've ran out of road, could you disable the bomb whilst we turn round" - Payne could still detonate it remotely so it's not like they could use that opportunity to unload the passengers.
Answer: Payne is a raging psychopath. As long as he's alive, he can make more bombs.
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Answer: I'm curious why you think Payne would do anything to make it easier for Jack? He's set a bomb with the express intention of killing people if his demands aren't met...why would he give Jack even the slightest chance of escaping that? And even if he was willing to, just because Payne can detonate the bomb remotely doesn't mean he can disarm it temporarily, then turn it back on.
Because the odds of the bus making that jump intact were incredibly small - if the bus blows up because of an infrastructure issue, Payne gets nothing.
If this plan fails, just like the elevator job, then they play a different game the next day so Payne would just look for another scheme to get his money.
Payne had no way of knowing what way the bus was going to go. How could he have prepared for the exact circumstances that led to needing to jump the gap.