16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2001
I wanted to walk out of 'DRIVEN' during the first ten minutes. Music and opening sequences were confusing, loud, annoying, and generally numbing. I realize the idea was to show us Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue's character) was close to a nervous breakdown, but I almost had one along with him. I stayed in the theatre, deciding the movie had to get better. It did, but not by much.
What I LIKED was the action race scenes and that I learned some things about CART racing which I had never thought of, or realized. For example, timing a 'recovering from injuries' Jimmy to ensure he could get out of car within five seconds, to even be allowed into a race (CART rules), was interesting to me. The use of computers, laptops, and communications techniques with active drivers was cool. I loved Estella Warren in the pool(when she wasn't talking). I enjoyed the 'Luc' character (she was best at achieving most with an understated 'look'). I liked watching the action at the pit stops.
What I disliked, intensely, was most of the silly dialog. (Question: "Where did you learn to swim like that?" Answer: "I was raised by frogs; Ribbit."). I thought some characters did well with what dialog they had, but some good talent was wasted here. Gina Gershon did a great bitchy job every time she was on screen; the only one who really used the limited dialog to extreme advantage.
My overall opinion were too many characters and confusing stories for the limited time. The only characters I truly cared about were Jimmy, Gina, Luc, and Beau (when he was away from the 'love triangle' story line). DeMille (Jimmy's hard-driving agent/brother) would have been much more effective had he been subtle/savey in his self-absorbed ways instead of obnoxious. Sly and Burt just existed in this movie; in fact, I almost wasn't going to mention them at all.
I had read, but didn't receive confirmation, that the first compilation was a four hour plus film, which Renny Harlin greatly cut. That could explain the first confusing 5-10 minutes. I actually might be interested in the DVD when it arrives it there is a director's cut, even if it is a longer movie, if it makes the story less choppy. I might even put up with some of the silly dialog if that were the case. But adding any time to this movie to get more of the same won't help it.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2001
With Sylvester Stallone and Renny Harlin behind the wheel, you would expect "Driven" to be more entertaining than it actually is. The deleted scenes on the DVD give you a taste of what might have been. A "director's cut" is definitely in order.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2002
If you have ever enjoyed racing, specifically CART/IRL/F1 racing, this film will actually make you laugh out loud and shake your head in wonderment. There are enough holes in this film that it begins to resemble Swiss cheese.
Where to start? The characters are all familiar, as you've seen them in just about every racing movie (not to mention any other kind of sporting movie)... I'm guessing Sly was cribbing from the Cliff Notes version of "Days of Thunder".
As for the problems with the "racing footage", let's just touch on a few things that will make you want to tear your hair out.
-In one of the opening racing scenes, the "rookie" is trying to pass for the lead, and right before he touches tires with another car, the crew chief's laptop screen (in the pits) starts flashing "WARNING"... Leading the crew chief to exclaim "NOT AGAIN!". I, for one, was unaware that racing car telemetry warned the pit crew that the driver is about to collide with another car. :)
-In just about EVERY racing scene, you will find a driver "about to pass" another car, and then a shot in the footbox of the car showing the driver suddenly flooring the throttle... Like the driver was twaddling around in second place running at part-throttle on a high-speed straightaway. SURE.
-Amazingly, only two drivers are winning any races... The aging current champion and the rookie. Nobody else seems capable of winning, a totally preposterous idea if you know anything about CART.
-If you are enough of a fan to tell the difference between various open-wheel racing cars will be endlessly irritated by the switching between real CART cars and the "stand-in" cars for the action sequences, which were Indy Lights cars and other mockups, if I am not too much mistaken.
-Absurd action sequences involve the oft-mentioned 180-deg turn to go back and save a driver submerged in a pond, the racing through the streets scene (seen this in Days of Thunder, perhaps?), cars racing UNDERNEATH other airborne cars in crash scenes, etc. Maddening.
-Astonishingly overdone and comically exaggerated crash sequences obviously meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator of audiences.
Other problems with the film:
-Trite dialogue that should insult anyone with anything more than a room-temperature IQ. "Brotherhood of Speed"? OMG, does it get any worse than THIS?
-The "One driver steals another driver's woman" plotline that goes back to 1966's "Grand Prix" at least, and has obviously been done to death in other sports films... Not to mention the bitchy ex-wife, though Gina Gershon is aptly cast in this role.
-Film editing that will make even a frequent viewer of MTV dizzy. Enough unnecessary cuts to make a music video producer proud.
-The dimwitted relationship between "the rookie" and the howlingly overdone part of his agent/manager, which of course in THIS film would be his older brother, as well. Not only his brother, but the brother that "the rookie" beat into submission when they were both amateur racing drivers. This plot detail alone made me want to drink a gallon of Drano.
I could go on, but we're only allowed a thousand words here.
The only thing that recommends this film is the presence of some good racing footage, but all the good racing footage is REAL footage of the racing, not the manufactured scenes for the purposes of "plot" development. Problem is... The good racing footage can be seen for free 20 weekends a year on ESPN. Don't bother paying for this movie... Though if it's on a movie channel you already happen to be paying for, it is worth watching if only because it will give you a good laugh.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2001
When one considers that in the last ten years Harlin and Stallone have either directed/acted in such films as Judge Dredd, Daylight, Assassins, Demolition Man, Get Carter, Cutthroat Island, Cliffhanger(cooperatively), and Deep Blue Sea, it's almost surprising this movie isn't worse than it is. It's bad, for sure, and if all goes well I will never see it again in my life, but I've seen worse.
But the very fact that I've seen worse did nothing to negate the way I felt after watching this film. And on that note I will attempt to review the film. Instead of creating an organized, developed review, I will simply cover some points I thought about as I watched the movie.
Although I know little about racing, I do know that you don't have to win every race of the season to be considered an excellent driver. In the film it seems that every time the rookie Bly fails to finish first in a race it's like he's really blown it for himself. And I do realize that Reynold's character is obsessed with winning, but seriously, even a second place season finish for a rookie in a major racing league would be a significant accomplishment. And like I've said already, I don't know much about racing, but I do know that Formula 1 cars have steering wheel mounted gear shifters. How Formula 1 differs or is related to CART I do not know, but I would be interested to find out. After all, I would think that a stick shift would provide more of a dramatic effect(probably has something to do with the fallic undertones).
Another thing about the movie that annoyed me was how predictable it was. I knew from the moment that Sylvestor's character met the reporter "Luke" that they would get something going between them...the very instant. Also, you know that one of the main characters is going to be injured or killed, and through the process of elimination it's not long before one realizes who it's going to be. Also, even though the racing season is 20 races long, you know that it's all going to come down to the last race, and in all probability, the very last moments of the last race. The movie doesn't fail in following these classic cleches.
There were also other problems I had with the movie. The night driving in the race cars through the city streets of "Chicago" was a joke, right? Aside from everything else that was wrong with that segment the one thing I kept thinking about was, "how can they see to drive with no helmets on". I mean, their eyes are going to dry out. The design of the car is probably going to deflect a certain amount of air away from the cockpit, but at near 200mph speeds, you're probably still going to need some sort of visor protecting your eyes. Also, I had to chuckle at the mid-race rescue of Memo. Talk about some seriously contrived bologna. Not to mention the pragmatic ridiculousness of it all. And as far as the between race drama goes, you could eliminate all of it and still not lose any emotional affect from the film. As for the races themselves...Harlin relies on choppy editing and pumped up music to convey excitement. The computer effects aren't terrible, but there are many instances when you are very, very aware that it's cgi your seeing.
Ultimately, this film substitutes cleches for character development and plot, has dialogue that is only adequate at its best moments, and rarely fulfills in its capacity as an action film. One thing I will give this film, though, is that it made me laugh out loud pretty hard once...when Stallone's character Tanto makes a flying leap to take first positon. I would like to say one final thing, in regards to Stallone. I am simply amazed at how much mileage he's gotten out of his Rocky and Rambo franchises.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2001
absolutly foolish...anyone who loves racing will hate this movie... brought to you by the same man who had you believing all you needed to win a boxing championship was a good roundhouse...now has you believing all you have to do to win a race is step on the gas...why didn't the other drivers think of that?? If you buy this you deserve it..
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2002
The main problem with this in not the story. Its the filming. Everything is a close-up and the camera angle is constantly changing. Where Good Fellas and Casino are famous for the Longest continuous camera shots, this one should be equally famous for the shortest.
The camera shifts without reason every fraction of a second. Everything is a closeup. When a group of people are talking together. Split seconds of facial closeups are mixed with facial closeups of the other characters talking.
Actually its worse than that, you get close-ups of eyes, then someones nose, then back to Stallone talking, Stallone at a different angle, at yet another angel, a close-up of finger tapping.
Its like they had 1000 cameras for every scene and used portions of each one for every minute of screentime.
If you can get past how absurdly it is shot, you have absurd situations like a racer getting upset taking off in one of these cars on public city streets and being pursued by another racer. Also in a race, there is a crash, and the other racer does a 180 degree turn and goes to rescue him.
I could never get past all this to get deep enough into the relationships between the characters so I can't comment about that.
This movie is terrible.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This film is definitely not character-driven. In fact each character is barely given a thumbnail sketch. It has the feel it was taken from some cardboard outline drafted by a screenwriter on his lunch break. Direction is also at a bare minimum, but this is a trend that we are seeing more frequently with more recent action oriented films. Directors are taking a back seat to the editors and this film seems to be definitely editor-driven. Digital editing is a tool and like every tool it is only as good as the hand using it. It is good to see Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds in the same movie but this should have and could have been a much better film. If you watch John Frankenheimer's GRAND PRIX it becomes very evident how filmmaking and story telling has changed in 35 years.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2001
you might like this one. This movie is loaded with enough racing scenes to satisfy most racing fans. The plot though it's not important deals with Stallone who is retired. He comes back because Burt Reynolds wants him to work with a new driver played by Kip Pardue. Kip is confused and he is starting to do badly in his races. His brother who manages him is pulling him in an opposite direction that he wants to go. He wants to beat Til Schweiger in a race. Kip ends up falling for Til's estranged girlfriend played by Estella Warren. Estella is cute in her first screen role. There's even a scene where she's in a pool and uses techniques she learned while being on the Canadian Swim Team (from real life). Stallone ends up taking the place of Kip's driving partner who is now married to his bitter ex-wife played by Gina Gershon. Got that? No problem if you don't. The first half an hour, I had no clue what was going on plot wise. But soon, it all fits together even if I was able to predict plot turns a mile ahead. Don't go expecting Shakespeare or you'll be disappointed. Just grab some popcorn, sit back, enjoy the show and you'll have a good time.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2002
This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. An incredibly STUPID story, so implausable that it is insulting to the viewer. The race scenes are simply ridiculous. Memo's big crash seen is the most hoaky thing I have ever seen, Bly makes a 180 comes back jumps out of the car and into the pond to save, PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSEEEEEEE!!!! HOW STUPID!!! Too bad the producers and writers of this movie have never seen a CART, IRL or Formula 1 race before. This movie is so insulting to race fans because it is so STUPID!!
If I could give this movie zero stars I would it is so bad.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2002
The title says it all. I own almost all the famous racing movies, and even admit to liking Le Mans, but draw the line at race scenes obviously filmed at a walking pace, moronic movie stars driving CART cars through city streets, and Grand Prix races run on a track no wider than my driveway. Watch comic book characters doing incredible things! I use the term incredible advisedly - the whole thing is simply not credible.