In DRIVEN, directed with his usual pretentious showiness by Renny Harlin
(CUTTHROAT ISLAND) and written with heavy-handed clichés by Sylvester
Stallone, fashion models drive fast cars on the world's racing circuit.
Jimmy Blye (Kip Pardue) is the rookie fighting the defending champ, Beau
Brandenburg (Til Schweiger), for the crown and his girl, Sophia Simone
"Blye seems to really be having a problem with consistency and focus today,"
the track announcer tells us -- something that could be said as well of the
entire movie -- so car owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) turns to grizzled
veteran Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) to guide his rising star. "I wanted
somebody who had been to the top of the mountain and slumped all the way to
the bottom," Carl explains to Joe.
The only glimmer of any acting in evidence is by Robert Sean Leonard as
Jimmy's heartless brother and Gina Gershon as Joe's bitchy ex-wife. The
rest of the cast appear to be either escapees from a fashion shoot or wax
museum versions of once famous action stars.
The film's real stars are the cars, which come apart in one flying crash
after another. Harlin burns through more money than a pork-loving
Congressman feasting on surpluses as far as the eye can see. These car
crashes look like every racing video game that you've ever seen, with the
most spectacular being by far the most ludicrous.
Harlin has the camera come in so close that you can see every pore on the
actors' faces and every imperfection on the tires' rubber. These close-ups
are performed in nauseatingly fast, blurring pans and accompanied by rapid
fire editing. Kind of makes you want to puke. A sensation that the
hackneyed script also induces ("Everyone falls down. It's just how fast you
get up that counts." "You should talk less and drive more." "Winning is an
attitude."). Sly's last film, GET CARTER, was pretty bad, but it was at
DRIVEN runs a long 1:49. It is rated PG-13 for language and some intense
crash sequences and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes