Driven (2001)



Critic Consensus: Underdeveloped characters, silly plot dynamics, and obvious CG effects.

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Movie Info

Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay for this action-packed drama directed by Renny Harlin and set in the dangerous, high-stakes world of CART auto racing. Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue) is an up-and-coming young star of the open-wheel circuit, but he's slipping in the rankings as the championships loom. Under pressure from his promoter brother Demille (Robert Sean Leonard) and wheelchair-bound owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds), Jimmy is given a mentor -- Joe Tanto (Stallone), a once great CART competitor whose career and marriage to Cathy (Gina Gershon) were destroyed by a tragic accident. Joe must earn the rookie's trust, while attempting a career comeback, dealing with persistent reporter Lucretia Clan (Stacy Edwards), and facing Cathy, who's remarried to rival racing sensation Memo Moreno (Cristian de la Fuente). Meanwhile, Jimmy is stirring up his own romantic trouble by pursuing Sophia (Estella Warren), the girlfriend of top driver Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger). Long interested in creating a car racing drama, Stallone penned Driven after abandoning a film biography of real-life Formula One legend Ayrton Senna. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
PG-13 (for language and some intense crash sequences)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Written By:
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Burt Reynolds
as Carl Henry
Kip Pardue
as Jimmy Bly
Stacy Edwards
as Lucretia
Til Schweiger
as Beau Brandenburg
Brent Briscoe
as Crusher
Robert Sean Leonard
as DeMille Bly
Jasmin Wagner
as Ingrid
Michael Boisvert
as Race Reporter
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Driven

All Critics (110) | Top Critics (29)

Sylvester Stallone's homoerotic car-racing actioner delivers something between Speed Racer and gay porn.

Full Review… | April 27, 2001
Top Critic

Why waste your quarters on the video games in the mall when you can pay $10 to see the same thing on the big screen?

April 27, 2001
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Driven is one of those wince-inducing movies that makes you wonder if every single person involved was deliberately trying to embarrass themselves.

Full Review… | April 27, 2001
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Driven is all over the map in more ways than one.

Full Review… | April 27, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A paint-by-numbers affair.

April 27, 2001
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Driven, to put it bluntly, makes Days of Thunder look like Citizen Kane on Wheels.

April 27, 2001
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Driven

There aren't many films about Champ Car (CART) racing or F1 now I think about it (if any), we did have NASCAR in 'Days of Thunder' but that's about it really I think. But here we have this slick offering from Renny Harlin and starring Stallone...yep. Lets not beat around the bush here, this is basically 'Top Gun' for racing cars. The plot is completely as you would expect from start to finish. It follows a young hot rod driver trying to win races and gain the trust of his managers and backers whilst juggling friendships and a romance with another drivers bird. Naturally this all leads to problems which affect his racing so he has to battle his inner demons, the press, the spotlight, the fame, family etc...all in time for the big world championship final. Gee I hope he can do it. So yes everything has that typical Tony Scott/Bay/Bruckheimer type gloss which we've come to expect in films like this. Lots of fancy camera angles shooting very fast cars so they look ice cool, girls in tight skimpy outfits, the lifestyles of rich spoilt drivers, plenty of shades wearing, lots of petrol head lingo, dangerous slow motion accidents and all accompanied by a rip roaring soundtrack just in case you forget this is suppose to be ultra cool. Predictable plot aside the film isn't all that bad really, the racing on show, I thought, was pretty sweet to be honest and I'm no F1 fan lets get that straight. These types of cars have no visual interest for me but if you try to fantasize real hard this could almost be pod racing in 'Star Wars' hehe. It appears that real footage has been interwoven throughout the film (effectively) but there is also a lot of real stunt work and race action which does work well in my opinion. Most of the crashes did seem really good to me and quite impressive, and from what I've seen on real footage they are accurate looking too. Massive gas tank explosions, clouds of flames and car debris showering down everywhere, I liked it and it looked cool I gotta admit. Not all of the race sequences were that good of course but a rain soaked race was nicely done showing a drivers pov from inside his helmet as the rain hits his visor. The best sequence is also the stupidest one, it involves the young hot rod driver throwing a tantrum and running off in a brand new car, Stallone chases after him in another. The catch...they are chasing each other on regular street sections, downtown Chicago. Of course this is absolutely ridiculous and probably impossible due to traffic, people and road conditions but I can't deny its a great adrenaline rush. The fact they actually seem to use real Champ cars on street sections makes for a glorious 'Fast n Furious' type moment which puts a grin on your face. Yeah you can see they aren't going as fast as the engine roar makes out but it just looks n sounds awesome! guilty pleasure moment right there. Aside from the decent racing the rest is standard dribble involving the young hot rod constantly arguing with rich team owner Burt Reynolds, German rival Til Schweiger (who's character name is 'Brandenburg' just in case you forget he's German), his bit of blonde fluff girlfriend and his Jedi Master-like trainer Stallone. As you would expect in the world of rich racers there is lots of partying, dinners, grand openings, double cross, jealousy, rivalry, my car is better than your car etc... Add to this all the regular Hollywood emotional crap like the young hot rod overcoming his weaknesses, the guru like trainer who is actually the best driver in the world ever!, girlfriend wars, a near fatal accident, the hard ass team owner who has a change of heart at the end and of course the HUGELY stereotypical big race finale. Surely you know what will happen right?. Its all about the visuals and for me it worked, the film looks great, sounds great and makes you wanna jump into your car and drive like a maniac. I can see how it may have disappointed people wanting a really good sensible F1/Champ Car flick. Its a bit of a cluster fudge really, Harlin has clearly gone for realism but can't help himself by adding total nonsense moments that break that reality. So end of the day in terms of a realistic racing flick its touch and go, in terms of a fun rollercoaster flick its not too bad and should have you smiling, obvious nasty shabby CGI moments aside that is. The film was a flop upon release but I kinda like it for what its worth. Its a race car film and it delivers in that aspect so job done really.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Mediocre action film directed by Renny Harlin, Driven is a poorly constructed actioner that not even the good looking racing scenes could save. This is a film that doesn't satisfy, and the cast are terrible in their roles. Driven could have been a good film if it had a better script, a better cast and director. Renny Harlin is the type of director that is really hit and miss. In the case of Driven, it's a miss. Driven could have been a good film, but it misses the mark. The only thing the film relies on is its racing sequence, which I admit are great, but the overall problem with the film is that it lacks substance to its plot, and the film goes nowhere. Like I said, the racing sequences are good, but that's about it. The acting is shallow, unimpressive, and you don't care much the characters. Aside from the entertaining racing bits, this film boring, and Renny Harlin has scored another mediocrity fest. This could have been a great film if it had a different director and a much better script; instead the film is plagued with clichés, bad actors and bad characters. Thus, Driven isn't all that good. Once the credits roll, you end up having mixed feelings on the film, and you realize that the film isn't that good. The film is quite mediocre with only a few mildly entertaining bits with little substance or satisfaction.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Oooooooh. It was pretty good. Why is everyone always picking on poor ole Sly?..

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

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