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By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 27, 2001


    'Driven' Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds in "Driven." (Warner Bros.)
I guess I must be missing some kind of race-car gene. Unlike the millions of fans worldwide who thrill to the excitement of NASCAR, CART and Formula One racing, I find the whole idea of men in helmets and padded suits competing against one another to see who can drive the fastest . . . boring.

Be that as it may, with "Driven," an appallingly dull film set in the world of professional racing, director Renny Harlin and screenwriter Sylvester Stallone have found a way to drain all the adrenaline out of the sport.


For starters, cast people who can't act. Heck, actors Til Schweiger (what is he, some kind of German luncheon meat?) and Cristian de la Fuente can barely speak English – but then again, that never stopped co-star Stallone.

Next, pad out the racing scenes with cliches like an off-track love triangle between drivers Schweiger and Kip Pardue and pouty arm candy Estella Warren.

Toss in a disgraced racing veteran (Stallone) and his attempt to redeem himself by mentoring a hot-headed rookie (Pardue), a crusty boss in a wheelchair (Burt Reynolds) and a bitter ex-wife (Gina Gershon, looking like an ad for permanent lip-liner tattoos), and you've got movie magic.

Don't forget to drown out the laughable dialogue with a turgid rock soundtrack and make sure to film the whole thing like a music video shot by a "Cops" camera crew on crystal meth.

For good measure, whenever possible cut to roaring crowd shots and closeups of women in halter tops and short shorts eating corn dogs, foot-long wieners and crullers.

Gentlemen, start your engines, indeed.

"Driven" (PG-13, 117 minutes) – Contains a couple of obscenities and many high-speed car crashes.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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