Driven (2001)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Drama, Sport

Driven (2001) Poster

A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.

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  • Sylvester Stallone and Cristián de la Fuente in Driven (2001)
  • Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds in Driven (2001)
  • Sylvester Stallone in Driven (2001)
  • Michael Sercerchi in Driven (2001)
  • Renny Harlin in Driven (2001)
  • Estella Warren in Driven (2001)

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19 November 2006 | bob the moo
Fairly brainless stuff that may appeal to those just looking for effects and speed sans logic or realism
Jimmy Bly is an up and coming name in Formula 1. He is leading the championship with rival Beau Brandenburg but the pressure is starting to take hold. To help out, team boss Carl Henry brings in old pro Joe Tanto to replace Bly's team mate Memo Moreno. Joe tries to reach Bly and give him the benefit of his experience off the track as well as his skills on the track. Meanwhile, off the track a tangled web of simmering romances, lost loves, friendships and past conflicts conspire to make the championship about more than the result of twenty races.

This film seemed to do almost nothing in the UK cinemas but when it came to TV I caught it. I could vaguely remember a lot of talk about Stallone wanting to make a Formula 1 movie and as a semi-fan of the sport I knew he was often to be found hanging around the pits. This labour of love then, has created a film that is about as generic and obvious as you could want it to be. At the core of the story is a couple of old chestnuts about, well, an old chestnut teaching a rookie the ropes while the rookie undergoes a crisis of confidence. Obviously worried that these clichés wouldn't be enough, the writers load the film with lots of romances, conflicts and so on. Narrative-wise none of them really work since all of them are half-cooked and just designed to fill the time rather than do anything special.

The action is what most viewers will be here for and I suppose it is at least noisy and "high-octane". Fans of Formula 1 in its "pure" form will baulk at the overblown races and the absurd car chase and even those who find F1 dull will find themselves snickering at the silliness of the whole thing. With all this happening the cast are stuck in the middle. Stallone is a solid presence but is really just acting for his own sake rather than the film. Pardue is far too bland to care the film and seems to have little or no range to speak of. Schweiger has been told to "do a Schumacher" and this is all he does. De la Fuente has heard a voice telling him to "do a Van Damme" so this is what he does while a totally wasted Gershon molls beside him through gritted teeth. Warren is pretty while Reynolds doesn't convince in his scenes and looks like a man who has been pulled and tucked five too many times.

Overall then this is movie-by-numbers time. There is nothing specific to watch it for really; the plot is delivered in basic blocks while the action may please some but is generally too overblown and silly to really engage or convince. Fun for Stallone to indulge himself while making it I'm sure but sadly nobody really seemed to be thinking about the audience that much.

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Did You Know?


The finish of the last race of the season is reminiscent of the finish to the CART race at Portland in 1997. Only in the Portland race the first three cars finished within 0.055 seconds of each other.


Jimmy Bly: What are you doing?
Sophia Simone: Swimming.
Jimmy Bly: Swimming? That's swimming to you, huh? I don't think that's swimming; that's uh... a little beyond. I've never seen anything like that. Pretty fantastic. Where'd you learn to do that?
Sophia Simone: I, uh... I was raised by frogs.
Jimmy Bly: ...
Sophia Simone: ...


When Jimmy Bly moves to the 7th place in the final race, he slaloms through a group of cars that, instead of trying to block him, nicely move out of his way. Also, the room that the last two of these cars leave him towards the wall is not wide enough for another car to fit through.

Alternate Versions

In the original version of the film when Memo Heguy's (de la Fuente) car wrecks and is thrown upside down in the river, Joe Tanto (Stallone) jumped into the river with Jimmy Bly (Pardue) to save him. Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) was not involved in this scene at all originally. But director Renny Harlin thought that it made the Beau Brandenburg character look totally heartless. So Stallone rewrote the scene taking his character Joe Tanto out of it completely. He instead put his character in the pits the entire time. The scene was partly reshot in a similar location in California, instead of returning to Germany where the original scene was filmed. Stallone wrote that the Brandenburg character turns his car around and helps save Memo from drowning. Parts of the original scene featuring Joe Tanto, were for the most part not reshot. Digital Effects company Pixel Magic digitally erased Tanto out of the scene. Aside from this scene, other scenes involving Beau Brandenburg were rewritten during filming to make his character more likable and misunderstood. Some of these scenes include the ending of the film and a scene where Brandenburg denies a female fan a kiss.


Poison Well
Performed by
Written by Armando Cardenas, Paul Perry, Mark Herman & Billy Rosenthal
Courtesy of Maverick Recording Company
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products


Plot Summary


Action | Drama | Sport

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