Driven: high-speed drama or low-impact drivel? Well, to be honest, it's a bit of both. If you're looking for a no-thought, all-action adrenaline fix with absolutely no artistic merit to its name, Driven occasionally hits the spot. Even those less than enthralled by the prospect of big cars driving fast (and making that nasty, death-metal chainsaw racket in the process) will be entranced by the all-cash, all-flash theatrics of Renny Deep Blue Sea Harlin's vision.
But the fun stops right there, somewhere alongside the shiny product placement painted on the cars and each masturbatory CGI crash scene. As soon as the crowd-pleasing night chases cease and the `story' begins, you can see Stallone's clumsy floundering turn to panic ("Dammit! This movie's never going to be another Rocky! We need more computer graphics, and we need `em quick!"). The ramshackle plot, and the movie's credibility, zip into the pit only minutes from the starting line.
Let's face it: Eddie Irvine aside, Formula One drivers aren't exactly known for their wit, character and sparkling conversation. And in this at least, Driven stays true. Stallone is no more than an embarrassing self-parody, and Burt Reynolds is every bit as bad. Kip Pardue's rookie driver Jimmy, meanwhile, is little better - - but at least he's below retirement age. He's just the generic new kid on the block, with a lot to learn, even more to prove and no hope of out-shining the movie's writer-star Stallone.
Hell, even Bound's wickedly entrancing Gina Gershon, who puts in easily the film's finest performance as a l'il piece of driver-groupie trailer trash, can't entertain for longer than a couple of laps around the race track. She may be hot as burned rubber and harder than steel, but she fails to push this badly-tuned vehicle anywhere near the finishing line.
Blame it on the champagne, but somehow the plot to Driven got resolutely lost. Even pretty no-kill car chases and decent CG effects fail to make this Harlin/Stallone collaboration as enjoyable as their last one. Which was, er, Cliffhanger...