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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.46%
Worth A Look: 7.59%
Just Average: 16.46%
Pretty Crappy: 20.25%

5 reviews, 49 user ratings

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Driven (2001)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Out of respect for Stallone, let's pass over this in silence."
2 stars

The most frightening spectacle in "Driven" isn't the shot of a race car spiraling into the air, colliding head-on with another speeding racer, and flying what looks like several miles into a nearby pond. No, the really scary sight is how Burt Reynolds looks these days, or, at least, how he's been made to look in this movie.

Playing a bitter, wheelchair-bound former racer who now owns a race franchise, Reynolds seems only a nip or tuck away from Gary Oldman in Hannibal; he looks like an animatronic puppet carved out of pink soap. Is this what happens to plastic-surgery patients as they get older? Reynolds' skin is stretched so taut you could bounce a quarter off it -- you wonder how the man eats, for God's sake.

Sylvester Stallone, who appeared in his previous movie Get Carter alongside Mickey Rourke (have you seen his face lately?), may unconsciously be surrounding himself with these past-it Dorian Grays to make himself feel less freakish and outmoded. Stallone's fall has been unusually prolonged and painful, even by has-been standards. He keeps doing these movies in which he's washed up, or either fighting or mentoring a young turk; out of respect for the early good movies he did, you want to sit him down and say, Sly, babe, it's over. You had your shot at a Pulp Fiction comeback (Cop Land), and it didn't work. Please take up poetry, carpentry -- anything but this ongoing psychotherapy morosely played out on the screen.

If you harbor any residual affection for Stallone -- the unspoiled, scruffy lump in the original Rocky talking to his turtle, or even his solid work in early-'80s thrillers like Nighthawks before he got all Ramboed up -- a movie like Driven isn't fun even on a nasty ironic level; it's sad. It's essentially yet another Stallone fantasy in which he puts on a show of being humble, helping out younger characters, and then gets to prove there's still heroism in the old Sly after all. Stallone is Joe Tanto, a chewed-up former racer called out of retirement to help young-turk racer Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue), who's carrying on a heated competition with German hotshot Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger). There seems to be nobody else racing (though you see other cars on the track, as a backdrop); it's just Jimmy and Beau. And then Joe.

For a minute or two, I was almost with Driven as a shameless throwback to Stallone's peak decade, the '80s. The Jimmy-Beau face-off is introduced in the sort of montage familiar from Rocky III and IV -- spinning fake covers of Sports Illustrated or Newsweek, snippets of excitable sportscasters. But the entire movie is downloaded into our brains in this same zap-zap way; it's like Any Given Sunday with wheels. Director Renny Harlin and, I assume, many computer artists work overtime to smash the metal together; there are a fair number of shots that wouldn't have been possible without CGI, and aren't plausible with CGI.

Harlin gives the dialogue scenes the same helter-skelter treatment, only without computer enhancement, though, in the case of Gina Gershon as Joe's vicious ex-wife, I'm not so sure. It may be time for Gershon's tumescent legions of fans to admit she can't really act, not that they care. Stacy Edwards (In the Company of Men) stops by every now and then as a sportswriter, looking a bit disoriented. Fitting in more snugly is the model Estella Warren, as a bimbo who goes from Beau to Jimmy and back again; Estella manages not to embarrass herself (except in a lame joke when she's required to "ribbit" like a frog), though this doesn't necessarily mean she's ready for Uncle Vanya .

Generally, though, this is a boys' movie, with the understated, depressed-sounding Stallone reading his own script with the world-weariness of a fallen king far from love and glory. (I suppose it only helps his exhausted characterization that he plays most of his scenes opposite Kip Pardue, who is as exciting as cold cereal without a bowl.)

In a bit of unplanned (or perhaps not) synergy, "Driven" arrived around the same time that the "Rocky" series returned to DVD; spin the 1976 original again, then turn to Stallone 25 years later, lecturing Jimmy about going back to when he enjoyed "pure victory" untainted by fame and pressure. Then again, you'd better not. "Driven" is saddening enough without augmentation.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3909&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/27/06 18:30:41
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell good racing scenes nothing else 2 stars
12/05/14 MarkM Avoid at all costs! Nothing good about "Drivel", err I mean "Driven". Pure dreck. 1 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
8/19/07 mr.mike not great , but Sly and Burt make it tolerable 3 stars
8/17/05 ES This movie kept me from getting home one night due to roads being closed for the filming 1 stars
6/13/05 E-FUNK Who the fuck green-lights vaginal discharge like this? Fucking awful in every respect. 1 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW WORTH SITTING THROUGH FOR Gina Gershon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/11/05 The Sorrow Gina Gershon was the only saving grace of this film for me... 4 stars
2/15/05 Sugarfoot Just what the world needed, Rocky meets Cannonball Run. With Stallone and Reynolds no less. 1 stars
9/04/04 Archanist_101 Not bad... They could've fixed the script a little... Gina Gershon ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/06/04 Kurt Wagner promised much more than it ever delivered. 1 stars
11/27/03 John very bad film that I happen to like 3 stars
5/19/03 your worse goddamn nightmare A chick I'm fuckin' is somewhere in the background in this movie. So that makes it... 5 stars
4/23/03 Andrew Carden Great Cast, Bad Movie. 2 stars
3/31/03 Mr. Do shitty movie. shitty music. 1 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby Should've made a permanant PITStop before darkening theatres. 1 stars
2/08/03 The Bint The Only way to survive this piece of shit was to CONCUSS MYSELF WITH MY OWN FIST! 1 stars
1/21/03 Chiendog Once again, Stallone is asleep at the wheel. 1 stars
8/02/02 Terrie Smith Really embarassing watching Stallone & Reynolds trying to act. Complete waste of time. 2 stars
5/31/02 doug good 4 stars
5/21/02 Kat Balue Of the so-bad-its-good variety. 'Showgirls' with a speedometer instead of boobs 5 stars
2/22/02 Beyonder I would have liked if I was 10 years old ! 2 stars
1/15/02 David A. Stallone in a non-violent role? I'm surpised but it rocked big time! Great! 5 stars
12/07/01 Dominik Duprelle I hadn't LAUGHED so hard in years! INSPIRED! BRILLIANT COMEDY! 5 stars
10/07/01 jawsboy Dog shit editing!! Badly written script,stupid!! Bad acting from most.maybe one good scene? 2 stars
10/01/01 Phoenix It looks and plays like a video game, but video games are fun and so is some of the movie. 3 stars
9/24/01 Daphne Aguilera I don't think it was bad 5 stars
8/16/01 ryan burns was good till the cones i had wore off !!!! 3 stars
8/10/01 kris Rubbish 2 stars
8/05/01 E-Funk I would rather run hot, searing needles through my scrotal sac than watch this again... 1 stars
6/30/01 Nicole Wouldn't see it again. Everyone's mess was in the movie plot, sucked 2 stars
5/07/01 Rampage Burt Reynolds?!?!? What the hell were they thinking! 2 stars
5/07/01 Trister Kept me on the edge of my seat all movie long. 5 stars
5/07/01 Timo UK Special effects sucked! 2 stars
5/06/01 Porkchop Action packed!!! 4 stars
5/06/01 Just for Estella Warren This movie sucked shit,the only thing worth seeing in this movie is Estella Warren 3 stars
5/05/01 Bill Great!!!!! 5 stars
5/05/01 Shane cant wait for the fast and the furious 2 stars
5/03/01 roby lafon a great movie 5 stars
5/02/01 Randal Graves Not great not bad but kicked the hell out of Crouching tiger 3 stars
5/01/01 Pat Scopelliti Stunningly bad. Dude, this movie sucks! 1 stars
4/30/01 Wambat dude U suck ass That movie was awesome 5 stars
4/29/01 Eric Barnes Very Exhilerating, Pure Action 5 stars
4/29/01 Chris Smith Very cool racing scenes. Very Entertaining!! 4 stars
4/29/01 bullit17 Over-directed and under-written. And even the action scenes get ruined with unnecessary FX 3 stars
4/28/01 JH When I say this is a Formula movie, I'm not talking about the cars. 1 stars
4/28/01 Ben Demyen Best racing movie ever! 5 stars
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  27-Apr-2001 (PG-13)


  16-Aug-2001 (M)

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