Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Gina Gershon, Til Schweiger|
|Producer:||Elie Samaha, Renny Harlin, Sylvester Stallone|
There is a lot that is familiar in this “formula” film about Formula-One racing cars. It is however a decent matinee or popcorn flick, that is if you like to watch fast cars, big explosions, and eye-popping car crashes. Veteran action-genre Director Renny Harlin does not let us down. Just when you think you have seen every possible way to film this type of action, Harlin delivers unique new “effect” angles (many computer generated). it’s one thing to have the technology—and another thing to craft it into a “hard-driving” edge-of-your-seat adventure. Race fans will also appreciate the brief tour of racing tracks from around the world.
I must confess I liked this latest action effort from Sylvester Stallone. Stallone, who stars in and wrote the screenplay for this “Driven”, is very generous on the screen with the other actors in the film. This time Stallone plays a race car driver, Joe Tanto, who is called out of retirement to help an old friend, Carl Henry (played by Burt Reynolds). Burt is the wheelchair-bound owner of the race car team who has a “win at any cost” philosophy. Both Stallone and Reynolds do their part with seasoned professionalism. The stereotypical characters are not overdone, and it is easy to buy into their roles.
Rising star Kip Pardue (“Remember The Titans”) is the up-and-coming rookie named Jimmy Bly. He is the latest racing phenomenon to win races against the field of veterans. Kip’s part seems to be following the path of Tom Cruise, who went from football player in “All the Right Moves” to “Days of Thunder”. Jimmy hits a slump and Joe tries to help him through a difficult time.
Estella Warren plays the part of Sophia. She is dumped by the current champ Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger). It isn’t long before Jimmy becomes a participant in the love triangle. This is one of the plot points that is very surprising. Jimmy shows a lot of respect for Sophia. In fact, parents will be pleased with the fact that this film contains no sex.
There are also some great themes like teamwork and sacrifice, giving “Driven” a much higher “moral fiber” rating than year-2000 disaster “Gone In 60 Seconds”.
Characters here do seem to care about one another, and the competition that makes the film is more of a competitive nature than sinister.
On the down side, there is some brief language and some brief shots of scantly-clad women. Alcohol is also abused to some degree, and there is a dangerous scene of cars racing through the city streets of Chicago. Definitely not to be emulated.
Overall, “Driven” does well all the way to the finish line. Parents can give their younger teens the “green flag” on this one without too many reservations.