Driven

Slyvester Stallone takes a unique starring role in this sports action movie and also takes on writing duties as the screenwriter.  Stallone reteams with director Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, DieHard 2) as the story centers around the widely popular sport of racing and the various relationships among the drivers and their significant others.  The movie crew should be greatly commended for great special effects, camera shots, and colorful cinematography that really capture the essence and daily tasks of racing.

Team boss Carl Henry, played by Burt Reynolds, brings Joe Tanto, Stallone, on board to help the faltering young star driver Jimmy Bly, played by Kip Pardue (Remember the Titans, Glass House).  Stacy Edwards (TV series Wolf Lake, Chicago Hope) co-stars as journalist Luctretia “Luke” Clan.  German born actor Til Schweiger performs well as Beau Brandenburg, a top racer who consistently butts heads with Jimmy.  Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society) plays Jimmy’s agent/manager DeMille, a non-stop pressure pot who wants to take Jimmy to the top.  DeMille is also Jimmy’s brother.  DeMille and Beau are the closest the movie comes to having antagonists, but this colorful visual work mostly aims to entertain and never takes itself too seriously (notice DeMille’s reaction after some payback from a female character for enduring his mean acts).

Cristian de la Fuente (TV series Family Law, Queen of Swords) makes females swoon as race driver Memo Heguy.  Estella Warren also helps to heat up the screen as Sophia Simone; a racing scene regular romantically involved with a particular driver.  The eventual targets of her romantic progression in the story is predictable, but it’s interesting to see how it happens.

Cathy, Joe’s ex, is played by Gina Gershon (Red Heat, Face/Off) who puts some additional sex appeal into the story, but her character doesn’t really have an important function in the story.  Cathy could easily be omitted from the story which would free up some room to present some background and develop Joe, Jimmy, Sophia and Beau.  The movie could also free up some space by cutting down the numerous camera shots and montages surrounding the races.  A good 20 minutes could’ve been saved from long instances showing fans, cars, and race day activities.  Many of the camera shots are also unnecessarily repeated.

The cast and crew should be commended for producing a good story without gratuitous sex, violence, or lots of bad language.  Recommended with many reservations (** out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for intense car crashes and small bits of language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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