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Driven
DVD disk
Oct 9, 2004 By: The Arrow
Driven order
Director:
Renny Harlin

Actors:
Sylvester Stallone
Kip Pardue
Estella Warren

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A veteran Cart driver (Stallone) is brought out of the slumps to help a young rookie (Pardue) reach his full potential as a driver and as a man.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
“Driven” achieves its goals. I think audiences spent too much time looking for what wasn’t there with this film, and in the process, missed all of its ambition. A movie is a polished version of real life NOT reality. Director Harlin only had 2 hours to say all that needs to be said about the vast Cart world and I believe that he excels at this through colorful, stunning images and engaging music. There’s a wonderful energy driving this film. The race sequences themselves burst with adrenaline, the astounding camera shots put us right into the drivers seat, the over-the-top accidents had me shouting “holy shite” and the dramatic sequences stuck to what was important. This movie flows effortlessly. I enjoyed most of the main characters. My favs being Tanto (played by Stallone at the top of his game), Beau (Til Schweiger; this guy has charm!), Sophia (Estella Warren makes her thin part memorable) and Memo (Cristian de la Fuente is a sympathetic version of Van Damme). I dare any director out there to have done a better job with the script that he was given.

Which leads me to the film’s main flaw: the script. Now I didn’t mind the “Rocky 5”-like formula (veteran helps rookie) Stallone slapped in here, but did mind the sea of a-holes that plagued the film (the Gina Gershon, Robert Sean Leonard and Burt Reynolds characters). A-holes exist in reality but that doesn’t mean that they make enjoyable presences on screen. Some relationships in the film should also have been written out. For example, the Tanto (Stallone) and Luc (Stacy Edwards) love thang never went anywhere. They also could’ve found a better actor to play Jimmy (Pardue was off at times), and improved on the film's sometime obvious use of CGI. Overall, "Driven" is a film that mirrors the real-life racing world well but also never forgets that it's a movie and that it's there to entertain. So yes, I appreciated the crazy downtown race, the constant rock/techno tunes, the bigger-than-life car crashes, the girls in tight shorts eating “hot dogs” and the insane camera angles. “Driven” had me going the whole way and put a smile on my face. Buckle up, here we go!
THE EXTRAS
COMMENTARY: We get a feature-length commentary by director Renny Harlin. He touches upon everything: the casting, the effects, his teamwork with Stallone and it's pretty interesting (not too many dead moments). My only complaint…why didn’t Stallone do it with him? He wrote the film and I would have loved to hear his two cents.

First off, we get ADDITIONAL SCENES WITH COMMENTARY BY STALLONE, which shows scenes that were deleted from the film due to time constraints. Stallone gives this feature a humble introduction and the scenes themselves are all “relationship” or “character oriented. Some of them would have helped the film feel more complete in terms of its dramatic content. Then we get the charged up THE MAKING OF DRIVEN. This extra starts with a high energy montage of behind the scenes stuff, then goes all over the place and gets some insights from pretty much the whole cast and the film’s director. This extra was a blast! Then we get the less effective CONQUERING SPEED THROUGH LIVE ACTION AND VISUAL EFFECTS, which has the effect dudes talking shop on how they did the computer tricks for the film. This extra was interesting at first (didn’t know the movie had so many digital cars) but then the effects dudes spent way too much time explaining a specific effect that never made it into the film; kind of bored me.

We also get the THEATRICAL TRAILER, which showcases; you guessed it, the theatrical trailer (love the song that plays during that trailer “you’re going too fast, you’re going too fast”...yeah!), a PLAYSTATION 2 TRAILER for the upcoming “Driven” video game (looks pretty basic) and a very standard CAST AND CREW that gives filmographies of most of the people in and behind the flick. Note: Where was the option of changing “camera angles” during the race scenes? I had heard it would be on the DVD! I tried changing the angles a few times and it didn’t work…bummer…
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
You know what I really dig about this flick? It’s positivity. It’s about surmounting obstacles, knowing who you are and coming out of it a winner. Not too many positive movies out there. "Driven" not only delivers a positive message but it also takes you on a joyride filled with exciting race sequences, insane crashes, creative camera work and plenty of slick tunes. If you dug the flick, this DVD will make your day. The extras complete the film and the Harlin commentary rocks! I see “Driven” as the perfect summer movie and it's too bad that was one of the few who perceived it that way. Don’t give up Sly; I didn’t hear no bell!
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