Formula One race cars outshine the formula script.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language, smoking, and drinking, as well as tense and scary accident scenes. A character is badly hurt, and another character has been disabled as a result of a racing accident. A character betrays a member of his family and there are other tense confrontations. There are also a lot of girls in revealing outfits, with tiny T-shirts promoting various racing sponsors.
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What's the Story?
DRIVEN centers on Jimmy (Kip Pardue), a talented young driver who is winning a lot of races and may take the world championship title away from the reigning champ, Beau (Til Schweiger). While Beau dumps his girlfriend of three years because she's "a distraction," Jimmy copes with another kind of distraction. His ambitious manager/brother (Robert Sean Leonard) is pushing him very hard on and off the racetrack. When Jimmy crashes his car, the team owner (Burt Reynolds) brings in former champ Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) to provide back up and focus. There is some story line about which of the drivers the girl really cares about, and something about Tanto's ex-wife (Gina Gershon), now married to another driver whom she describes to Tanto as "a younger, better you." Tanto has to help Jimmy find the part of himself that just loves driving fast, some choices need to be made, and some old scores need to be settled.
Is It Any Good?
It's a good thing that people who will want to see Driven aren't too concerned about plot, dialogue or performances, because the people who made the movie were not too concerned about them either. The plot is predictable, the dialogue is even more predictable, and the performances are barely noticeable. They are just there to give the audience a chance to catch its breath between the scenes that they came for, the scenes with very, very fast cars.
Sylvester Stallone's script brings elements of the Rocky films to the world of racecars, and Tanto is the Burgess Meredith/Yoda role. What matters here are the racing scenes, which are worth seeing. Director Renny Harlin has a gift for putting the audience in the center of the action, and when not much is happening on screen, Harlin uses flashy cuts and music-video-style camera tricks with film speed to pump a little more energy into the story. The driving scenes are bone-crunching, heart-thumping, in-the-driver's-seat exciting and the crashes are heartbreaking.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how teammates decide when to help each other and when to compete against each other and how to maintain focus on what really matters. They should also talk about the choices made by Jimmy and Beau when one of the other drivers is injured and about why Jimmy's brother behaves the way he does. They may also want to discuss why people continue to compete in and buy tickets for such dangerous sports, given tragic losses like champion Dale Earnhardt.
- In theaters: April 27, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: June 1, 2004
- Cast: Burt Reynolds, Gina Gershon, Sylvester Stallone
- Director: Renny Harlin
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some intense crash sequences
- Last updated: March 1, 2023
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