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Driven (DVD)

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    8 Reviews
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      21.12.2011 23:10
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      Overall a good film and interesting extras

      Description
      This is a film that follows the Formula 1 Championship in America, the story follows the top racing driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) he has recently been having trouble on the track. His boss Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) joins forces with Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) who was a brilliant race driver until one day he had an accident that nearly claimed his life. Joe agrees to come back to help the kid get back onto the right track.
      During the season Jimmy starts to get close to Sophia (Estella Warren) who is the girlfriend of the next top rival driver, because of this sparks fly and create a fast paced film with cars, girls and great visual effects, the main one being the view from the cockpit of the formula 1 car being driven.

      DVD
      The DVD comes with some special features of additional scenes, feature length audio commentary, behind the scenes documentary, the Driven game trailer and a trailer for the film.

      Opinion
      A film that I would watch once every so often as its full of action, but once watched not as impressive. The storyline works well through out the film, with a bit of suspense and a slight love story. I liked the in car views for the racing, however, some scenes it looked so computer generated it defeated the purpose of them.

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        07.12.2008 13:27
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        Distinctly average driving film

        Driven is the 2001 film which seemed to many to be like a Days Of Thunder type film, featuring a young shot shot driver who gets a bit too big for his boots. The film was met critically and commercially with negativity, and I have to admit that I am in two minds about the film.

        Seasoned veteran rally car driver Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) has his work cut out for him when he is urged to compete once more in order to reign in young hot shot driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) and help him towards a crown by being his team mate on the track. However, things are not plain sailing as Bly gets into trouble on and off the track, and Tanto has ghosts of his own as his emotional scarring following a bad crash has left him a mere shadow of the driver he once was.

        The acting in this film leaves a lot to be desired. Stallone's scenes of confidence boosting are mediochre and a bit lacklustre, and Pardue doesn't help himself by over acting for ahlf the film. But the remainder of the cast and some clever direction from Renny Harlin reign the two leads in and gives us some good special effects and action sequences, including some exhilarating track scenes. The driving is fierce, and there are some feel good moments in the film, it's just not enough to make this a really good film.

        If you look beyond the bad acting and the occasional stop-start nature of the film, everything flows nicely and it is actually a decent plot. There are no real surprises, and the support actors don't really have to do much to be better than the leads, but the whole ensemble kind of makes it work on some level and to some extent.

        The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £3.98. I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying it, but if it's on TV at some point and you want a film to watch while you're doing something else, then this is a decent film to put on in the background - it doesn't require much attention or analysis.

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        19.06.2002 04:06
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        This movie is quite good, but I could do with a little bit of improvement, but don?t get me wrong this movie is worth watching. It stars Sylvester Stallone other wise known as (rocky BAL boa). He plays the part of Joe Tanto, who is a former race car champion who?s career ended abruptly, due to a serious accident which almost killed him. He is called back to the track to help Jimmy Bly (kip Perdue) improve his career. This movie has a very strong resemblance of Days of Thunder, witch stared Tom Cruise and Kidman. Like Days of Thunder this movie has two people battling it out to win the championship and romance, Plus a lot more. Driven has some spectacular scenes, which I assume are digitally enhanced. But they are very realistic, And fascinating to watch. It is directed by Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea), he doe?s an outstanding job, in providing us with a testosterone driven experience involving fast cars. Good looking girls and cutting edge film technology enabling us to experience the racing in the excess of 240 miles per hour. All of these actors, that have been cast have given outstanding performances, and have really made this movie work. It was nice to see that Stallone wasn?t getting a good hiding in this movie though. This has been some of the best acting that he has done so far, well in my opinion anyway. I would recommend that you see this movie, even if I have put you off, because it may surprise you like it did me.

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          20.04.2002 04:46
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          This is a review of the car racing DVD by Sly Stallone. Movie Driven revisits the world of motor car racing twelve years after Tom Cruise?s Days of Thunder graced our screens. A lot has happened in twelve years and the technology has advanced enough to make Driven a promising project. As would be expected Sylvester Stallone plays the main character Joe Tanto a car racing driver who is persuaded to come out of retirement by long term friend Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds). Henry is manager of an racing car team and sees Tanto as the perfect coach for rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue). Bly is a promising young driver who has a real chance of winning the championship. However recent results have raised concerns about Bly?s mental state to win the championship. Stallone?s character is thought to be the ideal person to guide the youngster to the championship. Only World Champion Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger) stands in Bly?s way of becoming this season?s champion. Things are complicated further by Bly?s infatuation with Brandenburg?s former girlfriend played by Estella Warren. Driven received a huge amount of criticism when released and some of it is justified. The acting is very wooden at times which you might come to expect from Sylvester Stallone, but to be honest he is not the only culprit! As I was writing this review I noticed that Estella Warren had won the worst supporting actress at the 22nd Annual Razzie Awards, which are given to the industry's worst on the eve of the Oscars. Her performance is certainly representative of the acting in general in Driven. One of the most disappointing performances has to go to Bert Reynolds for his role as the team manager. I have never seen a man wear so much makeup and his whole performance was just embarrassing. I thought that he had reached an all time low by starring in StripTease but his performance in Driven at least matches that! What also disappointed me about Driven was the dodgy C
          G used throughout the movie. Some of the race scenes were pretty impressive but others looked fake. Two scenes particularly stick in my mind. There is one scene where Tanto and Bly race through the streets after stealing two race cars. This scene is unbelievable enough but the special effects just make it a farcical five minutes. The other scene, which made me cringe was the final race. I don?t want to give too much away, but there is a crash and you see a wheel spin up in the air and travel towards the spectators. This sequence looked more like a cartoon and was extremely disappointing. So far you are probably thinking that Driven is going to get a bad score from me. Even though the above points spoil the film I still found it reasonably enjoyable. Renny Halin has created a fast packed documentary style movie, which certainly passes the time. I say documentary because that is how the movie felt to me. Each race is introduced in a documentary way with commentators and real life footage being shown. Some of the race scenes are pretty exciting and cleverly filmed. I have done a bit of research and apparently some of the race scenes are actually taken from real life footage. Driven could have been a complete mess but Harlin?s input saved it from being a turkey. I am a fan of Harlin?s other movies like Die Hard and Deep Blue Sea so I was expecting a reasonably high paced movie. Whilst not recommending Driven as a nights entertainment I, could think of far worse films to watch. As to the earlier mention of whether Driven would kick start Stallone's career, well he is going to have to do a lot better then this to get the audiences paying to watch his movies. There is nothing in Driven to persuade me that Stallone is back to his best. If I was to write a school report about his performance in this movie it would probably contain the words ?must do better!? Video Driven is given a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation which brin
          gs the world of racing to the screen with great clarity and colour. You may not like the film but Roadshow have certainly pulled out all the stops with this transfer. I would probably go as far as to say that this is reference quality. Contrast and sharpness are spot on and the black levels, which can be seen during the night street chase scene, are excellent. There is no sign of edge enhancement and the dreaded artifacts are nowhere to be seen! This transfer is probably one of the clearest I have seen so far. Examples of this can be seen in any of the race scenes where the crowd is brought to the screen with wonderful clarity. If you are after a disc to show off to your friends then this transfer is worth the retail price alone. Audio We are treated to two soundtracks with this disc. There is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a DTS track. one. There is very little difference between the tracks. Both tracks use the full range of speakers with the rears getting a particularly good workout during some of the races. During the races you actually feel like you are in the middle of them. The dialog at times seemed a little muffled and hard to hear. However this probably has something to do with the fact that the surrounding noise is so loud. Overall these tracks do a good job. If I was going to recommend one of them I would go for the DTS track as it sounds a little livelier, but there is very little difference to be truthful. Extras First up on the disc are Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Sylvester Stallone. There are ten deleted scenes altogether on this disc. They run in a seamless branch and have a combined running time of just over thirty-eight minutes. The picture quality varies considerably between the scenes. Some of the earlier scene are very poor quality. Each scene has ?property of Warner brothers? displayed at the top of the picture. This disc probably has one of the most elaborate sets of deleted scenes that I&#
          39;ve seen, but to be honest if I wasn?t reviewing this disc I would have stopped watching after about the second one. All of the scenes develop the character personalities and there is no actual new action. The first and the last deleted scenes are pretty laughable really as they try to dwell on the sentimental aspect of the characters and they fail dismally. It just goes to show that action directors shouldn?t really try to build character relationships in movies. The scenes become very boring after a while and only a few of them are worthwhile. It is easy to see why they were deleted! One thing I did notice was that some of the scenes that were deleted were actually in the Region 1 version I watched a few months ago. All of the deleted scenes can be watched with their original sound or with an optional commentary with Sylvester Stallone. With this disc you also get a feature-length audio commentary by director Renny Harlin. Renny talks about various aspects in this commentary. He mentions that he is a fan of the sport and that coming from Finland it is expected that you would like motor sports. What is clear from this commentary is that Harlin is very interested in all aspects of the film and is very enthusiastic. He explains why and how various shots were done. I am not a great fan of commentaries but I found this one to be interesting and it added a little more depth to the movie. Two documentaries are included with the Driven DVD. The first one is a behind-the-scenes documentary entitled "The Making-Of Driven". It has a running time of just over fifteen minutes. The documentary starts off by giving some facts about the movie. For example there were 270,000 spectators used as extras in the film. The first two minutes of this documentary is fast paced with rock music playing in the background with lots of clips being shown. During the fifteen minutes we are shown various interviews with the stars including Sly, Renny
          Harlin, Gina Gerson and Burt Reynolds. The cast explain their characters whilst also expressing their enjoyment from filming the movie. What interested me the most during the documentary was Harlin?s chat about film the movie during live races. Some of the footage was filmed in the pits a few minutes before live races were taking place. The other documentary that we are treated to is called ?Conquering Speed Through Live Action and Visual Effects". This has a shorter running time of just over nine and a half minutes. This documentary is not as interesting as the making of documentary. It basically shows some of the main scenes in the movie and how they were created. This is a documentary for the more technically minded. Also included as an extra is the theatrical trailer. This trailer is actually one of the best that I have seen for a long time. It makes the film out to be much more exciting then it actually is. It is only about a minute long but managed to set a frantic pace and doesn?t give too much of the story away. Certainly worth a quick look. The disc also includes cast and crew biographies, which have now become standard on most discs. Overall I have watched Driven a few times now and it is the sort of film I would struggle to recommend but still found myself enjoying. It is well paced and has some exciting scenes but there are too many weaknesses, which restrict the film from being a classic. The acting is poor, there is little character development and some of the race scenes just don?t look real enough. The same cannot be said for the disc itself. It has an excellent transfer, a full of life soundtrack and some quality extras. If you are a fan of car racing films then give this a try. However if you are not interested in cars then you wont find much to keep you entertained.

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            13.11.2001 22:58
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            Director Renny Harlin never has an erection without expecting applause. Harlin may be a testosterone prince in Hollywood but his heavy-handed display falls limp here. DRIVEN is "fueled" with phallic symbols such as: young women eating hot dogs and licking other long, thin foods, tall steel buildings, and endless shots of pumps going into fuel tanks. Like the in-your-face camera work so effective in "Octavio and Susana," the first story of the Mexican film AMORES PERROS, most of DRIVEN is shot in extreme close-up. Yet Harlin does not capture the fierce machismo tension that director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu got out of his actors. Perhaps the DRIVEN actors were keeping "I gotta look sexy" and "pose" thoughts rattling in their heads. The DRIVEN screenplay is by Sylvester Stallone. I sure would like to see DRIVEN'S 10 page screenplay. It goes to prove that 25 years as one of Hollywood's biggest stars does not necessarily mean you have to actually have to read screenplays along the way. Why bother with developing a story when you've got fast cars and lots of product placement? DRIVEN has no actual story but to his credit, Stallone - as former great racing car driver Joe Tanto - stays out of the way and is not the focus of the movie. And he's not competing with the younger guys to prove who is faster and leaner. He's a supporting player who has new hairdos for every scene. Race car team owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds - whose close-ups are the audience's penance) calls Tanto out of genteel retirement to help "coach" and support his young star Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue). Henry's team's biggest competition is Beau Brandenberg (Til Schweiger, an actor who - in a promotion for the film that runs every ten minutes at my athletic club - is hailed by one of DRIVEN'S producers and shameless self-promoter Elie Samaha as "The next big rising star." Well, he does have a rather ni
            ce James Dean-on-the-cross appeal). This being a Stallone vehicle, there's a scene where Henry yells at Tanto. Why do multi-millionaire male movie stars require they are either yelled at or humiliated (see Mel Gibson in the recent WHAT WOMEN WANT) in their films? Is this how they feel they are bonding with the middle-aged male audience? I didn't learn anything about race car driving except there are no off-track dramas, intrigues, or fascinating stories in the field that could be mined. One would think otherwise. What I did learn is that the race car world has quite a Protestant work ethic and decent morals. The female characters are meagerly drawn: Tanto's ex-wife Cathy (Gina Gershon) is still bitter he dropped her. Why so angry? She's still on the circuit and snagged the sexy (and much younger) race car driver Memo (Cristian de la Fuente) who worships her. Gershon, in deciding to do her part justice, plays it so that her character has as much testosterone as her male co-stars. Beau's girlfriend is played by Estella Warren, whose "job" appears to be professional race car girlfriend. Estella gets points for being gorgeous and not 82 pounds. The thankless role of journalist (and potential love interest for heterosexual Tanto) is the hard-edged Lou, played by Stacy Edwards. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention my nominee for "rising star": Target. This is certainly Target's year with JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS and now DRIVEN. This newest find is sure to be a major Hollywood star. I liked his work in PUSSYCATS, and DRIVEN reveals a darker, grittier talent. I would recommend his agents should look for a sci-fi thriller next to develop his range.

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              17.10.2001 14:57
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              • "some over the top direction"

              Driven was the film that briefly stopped the box office slump of Sly Stallone in the USA. Alright it was only for a week and the film just scraped over $30 million eventually but hey it's a start. The film has got mixed reviews everywhere, none saying it's fantastic, some saying it's entertaining and some saying it's just plain awful. Well you have to bear in mind that some reviewers have a standard reply to anything featuring Sly Stallone. Even his re-make of Get Carter is nowhere near as bad as you may have heard. I like Stallone films for what they are and that's the mindset I had going into this film. I also like Renny Harlin film's for what they are - mindless entertainment. Driven takes place in the world of CART racing which bares some similarities to Formula One with a large popularity over the world. Team owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) has a young rookie diver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) who is fast catching up to the champion Beau Brandenberg (Til Schweiger) but is losing some composure with all the pressure. Henry brings in ex-driver Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help Jimmy get some control on the track and off it. Tanto has some demons from his past failures in his racing life to contend with. His ex-wife went off and married another driver who was a friend and he never really achieved what he was capable of in the sport. Meanwhile Jimmy is getting pressure from his manager brother who's interested in the money and fame while he attracted to his rival's girlfriend. The film charts the progress of these characters through the races in the lead up to the championship finale with of course action, cars and speed along the way. Stallone wrote the script to this film and it's not an amazing effort but does it's job. There are a few howlers of dialogue throughout but they seem to get away with it. I sometimes think that a script can be raised above it weaknesses by performance and dire
              ction and these elements are not 100%. The acting is on an average level. Stallone is actually not bad, sure he mumbles his way through some of the dialogue but we wouldn't have it any other way. Burt Reynolds finds himslef confined to a wheelchair and doesn't have much to do. He's a bit over the top as well and his pencil bar style facial hair doesn't help. Kip Pardue is a new kid on the block; he's good looking but a bit vacant. He's not bad in the role but perhaps doesn't have the full experience of intuition to lift the material. Estella Warren plays the love interest who's really there to look good and not really do much. Renny Harlin is a director who isn't known for amazing work with characters. His forte is action and blowing stuff up with a lot of explosives. This he does very well and you'd think that the world of motor racing wouldn't give him much opportunity to do this. But somehow he does on several occasions. There is one moment that is so un-realistic and over the tip that you half expect an action replay. It probably wouldn't happen in the real world but this after all is a movie. Harlin stages some of the more restrained acting scenes from a back seat. They are passable but he can't disguise the bad dialogue and some of his camera moves are a bit disorientating. He also uses some techniques that are a bit flashy when more traditional methods would have worked best. But he does get inside the cars with some great work on the racing scenes that capture the speed and danger of the driver’s cars. There are also a lot of songs played throughout and this is more a look at the big spectacle of racing rather than a character piece. If you like a lot of high paced action, good looking girls and something that won't tax your brain then you could certainly do a lot worse. Yes there are a lot of things wrong with the film and it's no classic but it does exactl
              y what it says on the tin. Certainly it can't be Stallone's fault as the dvd shows that a lot of the character plot he wrote was cut out in favour of the racing. Give it a look but you'll have to do it before Friday I'd imagine as it's died at the UK box office where the sport isn't well known and will probably be out of theatres before the weekend.

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                11.10.2001 00:47
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                I should have known when it said that Sylvester Stallone had written this movie that it really wouldn't be worth watching. Well, ok I did know which is why I had no intention of watching it until someone came wandering into one of my labs late last night with the movie burnt onto a CD...gotta love the internet. Anyway, work forgotten(as usual) a group of us crowded around a terminal to watch Stallone et al. doing the Rocky thing all over again... That is no word of exaggeration, this really was like watching Rocky again. Sylvester Stallone seems to have one script idea and just keeps changing the locations. There is not one original idea in this movie and when its not ripping off his own movies it is ripping off other people's namely Grand Prix and Days Of Thunder in this instance, although without such things as plot and character development but with CGI crashes aplenty to keep us interested. It doesn't work. But first the plot before I rip into this movie in the way it so richly deserves: What little plot there is goes a little something like this... Joe Tanto(Sylvester Stallone) is an ex-race car driver who is called out of retirement to be mentor for up and coming young rookie driver Jimmy Bly(Kip Pardue) in his quest to become master of the international CART circuit. His main rival is the stereotypically big-headed German driver Beau Brandenburg(Til Schweger) who comes complete with necessary blonde hottie girlfriend Sophia...well actually she kind of gravitates between the two main guys. Of course this wouldn't be enough to base a whole movie around would it so we add a few more complications. Jimmy's brother Demille(Robert Sean Leonard) is also his manager and is obsessed with making him a household name and we also throw in Burt Reynolds(audible groan at the sight of him) as the paraplegic owner of Jimmy's CART team. Ummm the whole plot is the racing and nothing else really, just a bunch of melodramatic su
                bplots which are instantly forgettable...and I have instantly forgotten them. :oP~~ To say that this movie is awful would be to do it a dis-service. It is not that it is completely awful, but rather that it has its market to appeal to and I just happen not to be it. That said, none of the 10-15 other people I watched it with happened to be it either... Its an action movie, its nothing more than that but the problem is that if you are going to base an entire movie solely around action then you have to make that action good. There are surely thse of us who watch motor racing just to see the crashes and that is basically what this movie provides as entertinment. You get lots of in-car shaky camera views which are meant to get the adrenaline pumping and then spectacular crashes resulting in massive explosions and flaming chunks of twisted metal flying everywhere. All this is accompanied by a raging heavy metal soundtrack and a general cachophany of noise and colour which rather than getting the heart pounding and the adrenaline pumping has you reaching for the volume control. Its all way too over the top to be watchable and for the effects to actually work they have to look a liitle bit 'real'. CGI animation is fine in some places, it looked good in things like Jurassic Park, but looked attrocious in An American Werewolf In Paris, there are just some things that the technology does not work well with. Here is another place it does not work well and you feel as if you are watching someone play a video game rather than watching a movie half the time as a result of it. When these scenes are what the entire movie is hinged upon it is not a huge leap of the imagination to see tat the rest of the movie is going to fall flat as well. I have to say too that there is not one moment in this movie where you look and think, "wow! I never saw that coming!". In fact, you'll probably sit through the movie with a distinct sense of deja v
                u because it literally rips ideas from other movies left, right and centre and does so mercilessly. It also rips idea from BAD movies rather than good ones half the time, taking an already tired derivative bunch of plot lines and hackneyed dialogue and meshing it all loosely together to fill in the spaces between racing scenes. There is little, no, there is ZERO character development here, just a flat bunch of sterotypes who look rather good going through the motions of a tame, unoriginal script. Our beloved director obviously didn't feel the need to do anything but show us the racing and the rest is superfluous. We do get a silly little subplot where both main guys fight over the same girl and another involving Stallone's ex-wife which seems to have nothing to do with anything and literally goes absolutely nowhere, like they forgot about it or something. Oh, and Burt Reynolds in a wheelchair shouting at people with a plastic face...the hows and whys of why he is in that chair are never explained... I fail to see who this movie is going to appeal to but I suppose it has its niche somewhere. Its certainly NOT going to appeal to racing fans if some friends of mine are to go by, they were disgusted at the number of inaccuracies and how blatantly unrealistic it all is, and the general action fan will find little of appeal because the action looks so...unreal! I lost count of the number of times we saw an airplane take off to show they were changing location, the city skyline to show they had got there, visors being lowered, suits being zipped up engine being revved...arrgghh! Its rubbish, it has no appeal at all, its the worst movie Stallone has ever done and thats saying something and hopefully it'll bomb when it hits our cinemas... But hey, its your money!

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                  06.10.2001 02:48
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                  • "many other things"

                  Driven Very much an indifferent film, driven is the kind of movie the vast majority of people normally hate, yet I always seem to very much like. A simple no brainer, if you like intelligent and thrilling movies then look away now, as Driven will do nothing to fill you with thought provoking concepts and intelligent plot twists. Acting as the means to a return for Sylvester Stallone to the big screen, this first role (to the best of my knowledge) since last years decent if unspectacular ?Get carter 2001?, Driven is a racing flick with nothing to separate it from hundreds before it. When the one time flourishing career of Rookie driver Jummy Bly (played by Kip Pardue) starts to go drastically down the pan due to a combination of effects from an upcoming stars adaptation to his new lifestyle, and the pressure placed by those surrounding him, team owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) has to make a move and save both the young lad and his team by bring in an experienced head to steady the boat and get things on track. Enter retired pro driver Joe Tanto (played by Stallone in a character with a name so fitting to the type of on-screen role Sly usually takes) who rather predictably quit the game after a brush with death in a high speed pile-up. Now call me super intelligent if you want (although I suspect you wont! :) but I knew this would be exactly the reason used for his quitting the game some time before it was announced. I just wish for once the creators of said film could attempt to introduce even the slightest bit of thought, and this is really in keeping with the rest of the movie showing no originality, innovativeness or imagination. Reluctant to get back into the sport after such near tragedy (again, where have we seen this before!?!?), Tanto has to guide the young Jimmy back to winning ways and to the drivers Championship (with any constructors/team titles on the way greatly appreciated no doubt). However, arch riva
                  l and poorly portrayed bad guy Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) is hot, hot favourite and going to be one tough cookie to crack, so Tanto and co get to work on winning the title back in what has to be said to be one predictable plot progression after another. What driven lacks in originality and perhaps influence, it makes up for in adrenaline and spectacular track side cinematography. High speed action, race side smashes and plenty of adrenaline make this a film the lads will lap up. If you likes films such as Fast and the Furious (What a film this is!) and Gone in sixty seconds (although both fundamentally different) and like to see the marriage of big names and motors, this is a decent enough movie that can provide more then enough enjoyment. Hopelessly predictable yet spectacular and fun to observe Driven is a better then expected movie built on a shaky premise. Stallone plays his role with the same grace and style as always (yeah right!) and although the script sounds at times like that of a childs play, it cannot hinder edge-of-seat action that will appeal to the right crowd. If you take in this film and hate it, I would fully understand, but for me this was more then I expected to get, a good two hours of entertaining in unintelligent fast paced fun Certificate: PG Running time: 120 mins Starring:Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Gina Gershon et al

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                  Motorsport movies have a lousy track record, so it's not surprising that Driven joins the ranks of previous race-car clunkers like Grand Prix, Le Mans, Bobby Deerfield and Days of Thunder. To varying degrees, all of these films offer spectacular racing footage (especially Le Mans), but what is surprising is that Driven was written by its star and co-producer Sylvester Stallone, who shows virtually no sign of the talent that created Rocky over a quarter-century earlier. Under the tepid direction of Renny Harlin, this superficial speedfest fulfils its primary obligation--the racing sequences are adequately exciting, despite the Cuisinart editing and a glaring lack of kinetic continuity. But whenever this adrenaline-pumped drama gets off the track, well... let's just say it's a hybrid of Top Gun and Days of Thunder, but makes those Tom Cruise vehicles look masterful by comparison. Stallone's a retired Grand Prix champion, called back into action by his disabled crew chief (Burt Reynolds) to boost the career of a hotshot driver (Kip Pardue) who's trailing a German ace (charismatic Til Schweiger) in the current 20-race season. The female contingent consists of a reporter (Stacy Edwards, too talented for this tripe) who's writing about "male domination in sports"; Stallone's embittered, remarried ex-wife (Gina Gershon, parodying her bitchy persona); and the requisite kewpie doll (Estella Warren) who comes between Boy Wonder and the reigning champ. It's airhead melodrama all the way, so you'd better enjoy the breakneck racing scenes--including a ludicrous prototype-racer joyride through downtown Chicago--or you'll blow a piston on your sprint to the bad-movie finish line. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com