Movie Review: Driven (2001)
“Welcome to The Human Race”
Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger
Synopsis: A young racing driver struggles to cope with the pressures of his profession.
The Wizard of Oz is more rooted in reality than this piece of garbage from the pen of Sly Stallone (D-Tox, Escape Plan). At least aware that he’s no longer young enough to play the male lead, he gives himself a supporting role which somehow manages to bag more screen time than the nominal leads – Til Schweiger (Judas Kiss, Inglourious Basterds) and some other guy – who play a pair of racing drivers vying for the driving championship of one of those sports that looks suspiciously like Formula One but isn’t. Stallone’s character is called in as back up to the other guy’s challenge. (I can’t remember the guy’s name, and the blandness of both his features and his performance mean I can’t really be bothered to look him up). Anyway, this guy’s a from-out-of-the-blue rookie who’s suddenly suffering from the wobbles with the finishing line in sight. There’s a few women involved, but they’re just there to pad out the running time and deflect the possibility of anybody detecting a homoerotic undertone.
Renny Harlin’s direction is in-your-face flashy, replete with wandering shaky-cam shots, astonishing high-speed prangs that send wheels and stuff hurtling skywards, and two dozen cuts during any thirty-second conversation. He does manage to conjure up a couple of moments of tension, but the impression is that he’s adopting all these razzle-dazzle techniques in a futile attempt to divert your attention from the dull plot and asinine script.
Ah yes, the script…
If I wrote this review with the same care and skill as Stallone wrote the screenplay for Driven, it would read something like this: The script was bad. I did not like the script. I wish the script was better because I did not like the script. It made me sad. Why do they make scripts like this? It made me sleepy. Find yourself. A talented cast would have struggled to mine anything of worth from this rubbish but this lot are hardly A-list: A German star speaking his second language, a model turned actress, the aforementioned bland guy whose name I’ve chosen to forget. Burt Reynolds (Pocket Listing, Hollow Creek) shows his commitment to bankruptcy by playing the hard-as-nails crippled manager of the racing team from behind the plastic mask that became his face sometime in the mid-1990s – but he at least gets to sit down throughout and has a functional acting technique.
(Reviewed 14th October 2011)