This film is essentially the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" of car racing movies.
Director Renny Harlin had a dream, and that dream involved making a PG-13 movie with more T&A shots than a porn film. Not only was Renny's dream to film T&A, but he wanted to film it on a grand, international scale. After all, Renny realized, T&A isn't only an American phenomenon -- it's a force with the power to unite the world.
Fortunately for Renny, along came Sylvester Stallone with his "script" for a car racing movie. Given that this script was probably about forty pages long and written in crayon, Renny figured he had to fill all that extra time with something besides car crashes and shots of a pensive Stallone looking toward the horizon praying to Lord Jesus that his pump penis doesn't explode at an inopportune time. So, what did Renny do? He took every conceivable moment to remind us that prior to car races, nubile women in short shorts and half t-shirts gather around in semi-circles to lick their lips and jiggle.
This film is essentially the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" of car racing movies. Stallone plays the Yoda of the race circuit, recruited by a paraplegic Burt Reynolds to teach one of Burt's young drivers how to live life and love driving. Naturally, amidst this driving lesson, both men are faced with more life lessons than a Deepak Chopra seminar. For Stallone, his ex-wife is now married to a guy named Memo (Cristian De La Fuente), who walks onto the screen with a sign hanging from his neck that says, "I will be horribly maimed in a car accident toward the end of the film." Fortunately, Stallone kind of likes Memo. In fact, everybody likes Memo. This is because Memo is gay. Memo is gay because Memo is twenty-five years old and is still snapping towels at the asses of his fellow drivers. This means you're gay. Memo's name doesn't sound like shortened version of "me homo" for nothing. This is irrelevant to the film, yet provides an interesting window into the kind of latent fantasies Rambo has floating around his peanut-sized brain.
Stallone's characters say things like, "It's not how far you fall; it's how fast you get back up," and, "Uh, why?" There's actually a scene in this movie where the young driver, Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue), is sitting next to a pool while the hottie he aspires to fertilize, Sophia (Estella Warren), does some synchronized swimming. I'm not lying: He's sitting there; she's upside-down in the water fluttering about like a tuna with a gimpy fin, and finally he asks, "What are you doing?" Jimmy sounds just like the baffled sociologist from the next century trying to figure out what's going on in this movie.
I was reminded during "Driven" that Burt Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for "Boogie Nights." Thank the maker of the universe that he did not win. In "Driven" he delivers his lines as though he's trying to lick something that's too far for his tongue to reach. He gives you the feeling that a better role for him would be "The Paraplegic from the Deep."
There are so many reaction shots in this film -- cuts from racing scenes to somebody looking at the racing scenes -- that it plays like an infomercial for a miracle baldness cure. Cut to head. Cut to audience. Cut to head. Cut to audience. Everybody go "oooh". If there's any justice in life, infomercials will be Harlin's and Stallone's new career.
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