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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.46%
Worth A Look: 7.59%
Average: 16.46%
Pretty Bad: 20.25%
Total Crap39.24%

5 reviews, 49 user ratings

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Driven (2001)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Sylvester Stallone and Car Racing - A Perfect Match (NOT a compliment.)"
1 stars

Being a movie critic is not fair. While those of us who choose to write about movies must come up with something new several times a week, the films we study are often nothing more than predictable and mundane displays of familiar tedium that offer nothing at all new. In English? Stallone - Sports movie - Run.

By this point in his career, Stallone is like that one "black sheep" uncle we all have. You know the guy. Your Mom's one brother that nobody really digs, but he shows up every year or two to show off his new station wagon or borrow 300 bucks. Sometimes Uncle Sly has a new job (like Copland) and everyone's happy for a change. But that same sorry uncle will undoubtedly show up next Christmas looking for a couch to crash on while he falls asleep mumbling something about Get Carter or Judge Dredd.

Well, Uncle Sly is back this spring. Your best bet is to slam the door in his face. Stallone makes a return to screenwriting (and I use that word only by its strictest definition) with Driven, a movie that is set to take the entertainment world by storm. It's that bad.

It's about car racing. Not only is that a synopsis, but it's a complete blow-by-blow account of the script. Equally as moronic is the manic, overbaked and all-around retarded directorial style employed by Renny Harlin. This guy has proven in the past that he can shoot an action flick (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2), but he seems to have thrown all of that experience to the wind in favor of a new quick-cut, Oliver Stone-ish, seizure-inducing visual sense.

Sly plays an old racer who is brought back to act as a mentor for a brash young superstar. (Taking a lead from this terminally lethargic movie, I choose to be lazy and not look up the character's names.) And while there are a few semblances of what could be considered "subplots" in a real movie, absolutely nothing of interest happens in this film until the final scenes. You know what 'happens' in the final scene? The credits roll, and you get to stand up, stretch a bit, look at your movie partner and try not to laugh.

No smackdown of this dumb dumb film would be complete without recognizing the CGI effects. So I'll do that here: The CGI effects in Driven are perhaps the worst I've ever seen in film. (And I've seen Congo.) Sequences that are meant to make the audience gasp and cheer instead inspire copious amounts of giggles and audible head-slapping. There are things in this movie that even Chuck Jones wouldn't have put Wile E. Coyote through, due to their complete betrayal of physics. Cars jump through the air in slow motion, bashing off one another while several other Nintendo-looking cars race by. And oh yeah, it rains in one race.

The star here is something called Kip Pardue, and I remember seeing his blank visage in another sports movie, Remember the Titans. I've only seen this kid act twice, so it's not yet fair to say that he makes Freddie Prinze look like Al Pacino. But one can only assume that Harlin told Pardue to go for "a complete and utter lack of anything resembling human emotion for the entire running time of the film". If you've ever wondered what bad acting looks like, well then there's the one reason to see Driven: The vacant hole in the center that is the Kip Pardue. Faring only a little better (thanks mainly to breasts) is the new "It" girl, Estella Warren. She plays a race-track chick who has sex with car racers. She has a scene in a bathing suit.

What's most disturbing about this movie is simply its overall air of just plain dumbness. Do audiences really need to have a movie OPEN with a musical montage that is a shoddy and woefully transparent attempt at character development? How about the OTHER musical montage in which subtitles flash across the screen, such as "3 Days Until Race" and a few seconds later "2 Days Until Race".

The action sequences could be edited together as a wonderfully old-fashioned trailer: "SEE the two imbeciles rocketing through city streets in souped-up 'racing cart'!!!! MARVEL at the drivers who stop mid-race to rescue a fallen friend!!! Sit there STUNNED as your mind comprehends the uses of CGI pocket change! Your mind will BOGGLE at the sheer depraved madness that is Driven!"

A few familiar actors pop up onscreen long enough for you to pity them, most notably Burt Reynolds as the evil old codger in the wheelchair and awful wig. He's gruff. He's crippled. He used to be the Bandit and now he couldn't act sweaty if you set his toop on fire. Gina Gershon shows up for a few scenes to chew some scenery. She has a pretty butt, so I guess she's not too worried about preparing any Oscar speeches. If this cast has a highlight, it's Robert Sean Leonard as the stupid young racer's brother/manager. Leonard seems to be well aware of how cheese-infested the dialogue is, so he does what any smart actor would do. He overdoes it, and has fun. Oh, and he's only in the movie for about 13 minutes.

Oh, and you want leering? How about pandering? How about tons and tons of pointless (NON-bare) tit shots? Just like this: Crowd scene...Boobs...Close up of the Kip Pardue... Amply- Endowed woman feasting on a hot dog....Close Up of Stallone's gigantic wrinkled head... more dumb bimbos with boobs and cotton candy. More Stallone. Then boobs boobs boobs. For a few minutes I felt like I was being programmed a la Clockwork Orange! Who filmed this non-stop cleavage-fest crap? I thought Russ Meyer was dead! The only fun aspect of this movie would be to how many covered breasts get photographed. (Here's a hint: Count the women and just multiply by 2.)

So here's the dirt: It's a stupid movie about a silly sport. I'm not saying that there COULDN'T BE a good movie made about people driving in a circle for 7 hours, but this sure ain't it. And after seeing Driven and Days of Thunder, I'm pretty sure that this whole 'race car movie' stupidity has come full circle. (Ha! Racing pun! Stallone, call me if you do a sequel!)

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originally posted: 04/26/01 16:49:54
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell good racing scenes nothing else 2 stars
12/06/14 MarkM Avoid at all costs! Nothing good about "Drivel", err I mean "Driven". Pure dreck. 1 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
8/20/07 mr.mike not great , but Sly and Burt make it tolerable 3 stars
8/18/05 ES This movie kept me from getting home one night due to roads being closed for the filming 1 stars
6/14/05 E-FUNK Who the fuck green-lights vaginal discharge like this? Fucking awful in every respect. 1 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW WORTH SITTING THROUGH FOR Gina Gershon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/11/05 The Sorrow Gina Gershon was the only saving grace of this film for me... 4 stars
2/16/05 Sugarfoot Just what the world needed, Rocky meets Cannonball Run. With Stallone and Reynolds no less. 1 stars
9/04/04 Archanist_101 Not bad... They could've fixed the script a little... Gina Gershon ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/07/04 Kurt Wagner promised much more than it ever delivered. 1 stars
11/27/03 John very bad film that I happen to like 3 stars
5/20/03 your worse goddamn nightmare A chick I'm fuckin' is somewhere in the background in this movie. So that makes it... 5 stars
4/24/03 Andrew Carden Great Cast, Bad Movie. 2 stars
4/01/03 Mr. Do shitty movie. shitty music. 1 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Should've made a permanant PITStop before darkening theatres. 1 stars
2/08/03 The Bint The Only way to survive this piece of shit was to CONCUSS MYSELF WITH MY OWN FIST! 1 stars
1/22/03 Chiendog Once again, Stallone is asleep at the wheel. 1 stars
8/03/02 Terrie Smith Really embarassing watching Stallone & Reynolds trying to act. Complete waste of time. 2 stars
5/31/02 doug good 4 stars
5/21/02 Kat Balue Of the so-bad-its-good variety. 'Showgirls' with a speedometer instead of boobs 5 stars
2/23/02 Beyonder I would have liked if I was 10 years old ! 2 stars
1/16/02 David A. Stallone in a non-violent role? I'm surpised but it rocked big time! Great! 5 stars
12/07/01 Dominik Duprelle I hadn't LAUGHED so hard in years! INSPIRED! BRILLIANT COMEDY! 5 stars
10/08/01 jawsboy Dog shit editing!! Badly written script,stupid!! Bad acting from most.maybe one good scene? 2 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix It looks and plays like a video game, but video games are fun and so is some of the movie. 3 stars
9/25/01 Daphne Aguilera I don't think it was bad 5 stars
8/16/01 ryan burns was good till the cones i had wore off !!!! 3 stars
8/10/01 kris Rubbish 2 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk I would rather run hot, searing needles through my scrotal sac than watch this again... 1 stars
7/01/01 Nicole Wouldn't see it again. Everyone's mess was in the movie plot, sucked 2 stars
5/08/01 Rampage Burt Reynolds?!?!? What the hell were they thinking! 2 stars
5/08/01 Trister Kept me on the edge of my seat all movie long. 5 stars
5/07/01 Timo UK Special effects sucked! 2 stars
5/07/01 Porkchop Action packed!!! 4 stars
5/06/01 Just for Estella Warren This movie sucked shit,the only thing worth seeing in this movie is Estella Warren 3 stars
5/06/01 Bill Great!!!!! 5 stars
5/05/01 Shane cant wait for the fast and the furious 2 stars
5/04/01 roby lafon a great movie 5 stars
5/03/01 Randal Graves Not great not bad but kicked the hell out of Crouching tiger 3 stars
5/02/01 Pat Scopelliti Stunningly bad. Dude, this movie sucks! 1 stars
5/01/01 Wambat dude U suck ass That movie was awesome 5 stars
4/30/01 Eric Barnes Very Exhilerating, Pure Action 5 stars
4/30/01 Chris Smith Very cool racing scenes. Very Entertaining!! 4 stars
4/29/01 bullit17 Over-directed and under-written. And even the action scenes get ruined with unnecessary FX 3 stars
4/28/01 JH When I say this is a Formula movie, I'm not talking about the cars. 1 stars
4/28/01 Ben Demyen Best racing movie ever! 5 stars
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  27-Apr-2001 (PG-13)


  16-Aug-2001 (M)

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