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Driven [DVD] 
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Talented young racing driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) shows promise but is buckling under the pressure heaped on him by his promoter/brother. Car owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) senses something going amiss in Jimmy's driving and persuades old-hand driver Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) to come and advise the young buck. But returning to the fray even in this paternal role reminds Joe of the scars left behind by a near-fatal accident on the track all those years ago.
Motorsport movies have a lousy track record, so it's not surprising that Driven joins the ranks of previous race-car clunkers like Grand Prix, Le Mans, Bobby Deerfield and Days of Thunder. To varying degrees, all of these films offer spectacular racing footage (especially Le Mans), but what is surprising is that Driven was written by its star and co-producer Sylvester Stallone, who shows virtually no sign of the talent that created Rocky over a quarter-century earlier. Under the tepid direction of Renny Harlin, this superficial speedfest fulfils its primary obligation--the racing sequences are adequately exciting, despite the Cuisinart editing and a glaring lack of kinetic continuity. But whenever this adrenaline-pumped drama gets off the track, well... let's just say it's a hybrid of Top Gun and Days of Thunder, but makes those Tom Cruise vehicles look masterful by comparison.
Stallone's a retired Grand Prix champion, called back into action by his disabled crew chief (Burt Reynolds) to boost the career of a hotshot driver (Kip Pardue) who's trailing a German ace (charismatic Til Schweiger) in the current 20-race season. The female contingent consists of a reporter (Stacy Edwards, too talented for this tripe) who's writing about "male domination in sports"; Stallone's embittered, remarried ex-wife (Gina Gershon, parodying her bitchy persona); and the requisite kewpie doll (Estella Warren) who comes between Boy Wonder and the reigning champ. It's airhead melodrama all the way, so you'd better enjoy the breakneck racing scenes--including a ludicrous prototype-racer joyride through downtown Chicago--or you'll blow a piston on your sprint to the bad-movie finish line. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
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Made in 2001 and directed by Renny Harlin (who also made the excellent "Deep Blue Sea") "Driven" was Stallone's pet project. He wrote the scenario and produced the film and of course also played in it - but he willingly took much less time screen than could be expected. There are many more or less famous faces appearing in this film and they were given quite a lot of place.
Burt Reynolds is of course the greatest star playing Carl Henry, a ruthless, sly (sorry, I couldn't resist) and efficient paraplegic owner of a renowned racing team. He has a chance to win this year World Series thanks to his ace card, a greatly gifted rookie Jimmy Bly (played by a little known actor, Kip Pardue) - but as this young man shows signs of instability, Henry brings back to the team a veteran driver Joe Tanto (Stallone) to mentor and assist him. In the meantime the current world champion, Beau Brandenbourg (Til Schweiger), upset by his recent defeats, breaks in a very mean way with his gorgeous girlfriend Sophia (Estella Warren). In significant second roles we can also see Gina Gershon as Tanto's ex-wife, Christian de la Fuente as her new husband and Robert Sean Leonard (later to become famous as Wilson in "House, M.D") as Bly's older brother. This film tells the story of World Series races but also of tensions and conflicts between people mentioned above.
Although it can certainly not be considered as a masterpiece or even a major film, I was suprised by the huge amount of vicious "flak" this movie received (and keeps receiving) on every conceivable web page I could find. Personally, I liked it. Races were well shown, some moments were very endearing (especially the ending) and I also found that Tanto, Henry and Brandenbourg were all pretty interesting characters (although, in the case of the latter two, definitely not very nice people).
I was particularly impressed by the scene in which Estella Warren (who in real life used to be an olympic level swimmer) gives to her boyfriend (lucky little ba..ard!) a personal show of synchronic natation - and a little bit more. Frankly, I never imagined, that a girl simply saying "Ribbit, ribbit" can be such a sexy scene...
For me the great quality of this film was its "feel good" character - when the credits started to roll, I felt pretty relaxed and I was smiling. OK, maybe it was a silly smile, but still - I spend a nice moment watching it. Also I found the races interesting and pretty dramatic and finally I am quite happy that I was unable to notice what was wrong with them.
It is a nice, soothing, gentle, relaxing, a little bit silly but quite entertaining film, very much adapted to watch after a hard working day with your wife or girlfriend. Enjoy!
The visual effects are stunning and the plot line whilst thin is related to various characters in F1, Sylvester Stallone has researched this project well and put together a spectacle of CG images at the cutting edge, Great effects, Slim plot, overall edge of the seat viewing, strange cover design for the dvd though.
Apart from the lack of plot and wooden acting it is clear that nobody involved in making the film has a clue about motor racing!
As is common in Hollywood movies it appears that if you are involved in so much as a parking shunt your car will explode in a ball of orange flame - here we see a car crash into a lake and explode in a ball of yellow flame with burning fuel spreading over the water - but these cars run on methanol which burns with an almost invisible pale blue flame and mixes with water so it wouldn't float on water to burn that way.
Next is the Chicago street race scene - how did they start the cars? They need external assistance because they don't have starter motors or batteries.
I could go on but I'm starting to sound like an anorak!
Some movies are so bad thay are good to watch - this doesn't even make that category. Don't waste your money on it! Not even £1. My copy went in the bin!!
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