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The Independent Critic

Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Gina Gershon, Burt Reynolds
Renny Harlin
Sylvester Stallone
113 Mins.
Warner Brothers

 "Driven" Review 
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"Driven" is perfectly suited to the "Fast and the Furious" crowd that prefer style over substance. However, coming from Indianapolis, I require more from my auto racing films than the sort of tripe offered in this film starring Sylvester Stallone as a former CART champion called in by car owner Burt Reynolds when his star driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) begins to fall apart in the heat of the championship stretch.

Can't you just feel the drama oozing? Really? Can't you feel it? I sure can. The anticipation is killing me. I mean, I'm sweating just writing about it.

Renny Harlin directs the film basically as a "crash them up" kind of film, and the script from Stallone doesn't help matters much. The film offers lots of action, but nothing to back it up. The performances have no depth to them and only serve to further the action. The performances range from serviceable to abysmal, and Reynolds does NOT nail the part of the car owner in the wheelchair. Watch his movements...they are hilarious and WAY off base.

In supporting roles, the likes of Robert Sean Leonard and Gina Gershon are reduced to caricatures and with a PG-13 rating we have severely limited action, sensuality and even the shallow scenes can't get shallow enough to be interesting.

Is this the worst film from Renny Harlin? No, of course not. It's above "Cutthroat Island," but not by a whole lot. The script by Stallone has potential, but it gets lost in the excessive crashing sequences. Of course, any Indy fan would tell you that this is not an accurate portrayal of racing but, instead, a lifeless, shallow portrayal of the auto racing circuit.

Renny Harlin drives this film into the ground, and the feel good ending is remarkably manufactured and forced. It is histrionic joy at its finest, and had me cringing as I headed for the door.

"Driven" should have been called "Stalled."

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic