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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Driven

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue
Director: Renny Harlin
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: April 2001
Genres: Action, Sports

*Also starring: Til Schweiger, Burt Reynolds, Gina Gershon, Robert Sean Leonard, Verona Feldbusch, Estella Warren

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
3.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

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 (Estella Warren).

"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 least watchable.

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

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