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Yo' Andretti, I got your racing movie right here buddy.
As a bonifide movie critic I shouldn't have like this. With it's choppy cuts and sometimes-laughable melodramatics... But shoot me; I love fast cars, good-looking men, and MTV style editing. It doesn't always have to be mentally engrossing to be visually enjoyable.

Of course there's my undying affection for Stallone too. He penned (along w/umpteen others) the Lords of Flatbush, a New York manfest extravaganza, and for that I am forever biased in his favor. (Um, Oscar and Rhinestone aside thank you.)

Sly's back as writer, actor and producer with Driven. The story is a tad mediocre, the subject not for everyone. But, with nine million and one (me) racing fans that will surely break posted speeding limits to get to this, I don't think Stallone gives a roof flaps hoot what the critics think.

It's not that Driven is bad...It's rather fun in that-"it's summer let's go watch some cars blow up" way. Stallone's great at that stuff. He's also, great at producing high energy, unrealistic hero stories with a central character that needs a good hug, and of course his triumphant, victorious -make- you- wanna- jog up- the- Philadelphia- state- house- stairs endings, all set to happiness endorphin producing music!

It's the cast that is a tad off. The young stud in waiting Kip Pardue was sweating profusely for the first half of the film. I was in a quandary as to the point of this immense amount of body water. Was it his emotional dilemmas with his fast success? Was it drugs we were to learn he was taking? Or was it just the air-conditioning on the set had failed
and the lad was boiling in his own flesh? Very distracting.

The other leads seemed soulless. But for all its faults, it's one kick ass racing movie, and we really needed one of those, with of course, that patented Stallone ending.

Driven's story goes...Young racer extraordinaire Jimmy Blye ( Kip "Soft and Dry" Pardue) has ripped on the racing scene in a fury of melted tire smoke.

This upsets current world racing champion, and mega-head case, Beau Brandenburg (Til " could I be more German" Scweiger).

Beau decides he needs to concentrate on his racing more. How? Yes, of course, dump his gal Sophia (Estella "bathing beauty" Warren). By breaking her heart and tossing it out of the rest pit, he is now mentally free to beat this new nemesis Jimmy the Kid. Why? Because she is simply a distraction. Ass.

Jimmy quickly decides he needs Sophia to concentrate on beating his emotional demons that list like ingredients in an Emril LaGasse Quiche Lorraine, and of course Beau.

Sophia is so easily swayed. Plot flaw.

Oh, oh. Trouble on the track. Penis envy over the Pennzoil. It's personal now! Tah!

So, Jimmy Blye's boss, Major Meany Carl Henry (sadly old looking Burt Reynolds), a racing promoter/legendary team designer calls in the "Rambo of the Racing World." The "Rocky Balboa of the Checkered Flag". The guy who had it all and threw it away- though we never do get detail on how exactly... Jack Carter, er, Joe Tanto (Sylvestor "still a looker" Stallone). His job? To keep Jimmy Blye in line and be a father figure to the Million Dollar Boy. Teach him the meaning of victory and nerve, oh, and maneuver (cheat) a little on the track. Etc.etc.

Yeah, yeah whatever. Driven is about fast cars and good-looking guys! Oh, and those racetrack bimbos with the mini-waisted, double D breasts hanging out of a shirt 3X too small with the obligatory product endorsements emblazoned across- of course.

A Blunt aside-Before you go buying a CART or Nascar season ticket you may wanna check out Joe Dirt. 'Cause the drivers and patrons I always run into is more of that caliber--if you get my blatant- superior- condescending point. There are NEVER this many handsome- in an Italian GQ edition way- stud biscottis behind the wheel at these white trash soirees!

Will Jimmy get his head (and sweat glands) under control in time to win the championship? Will the young up start beat Beau? Will Sophia get a clue (on track etiquette= not sleeping with every driver)? Will Joe Tanto forgive himself (for whatever it is he did) and live again? The tension is mounting...

Young, Kip Pardue (Jimmy Blye), under the repeatedly mentioned sweat glands, is actually an admirable actor. Kip's got an innocent gawkiness. He has a sexy " I'd like to teach the kid a thing or two" feel to him. He reminded me of a young Matt Damon, filled with raw emotion, true talent, and fire behind his eyes. When Kippy hits puberty he's fair game folks.

Til Schweiger-heimerschmidt (Beau Brandenburg) was a delicious, firm German knockwurst of a man with a full side of schnitzel dumplings. It was hard to believe his chickbabe girlfriend, Sophia, would even consider playing hind the Bavarian bread loaf with Jimmy. He's a working German actor. We really need to create some roles for him. German dictionary anyone?

Estella Warren was fine. She will prove herself elsewhere. Est wasn't given much here.

Stallone is still just cool. A movie star. Period.

Then the little cameos by some of the other racerswere simply scrumptious. Any red-blooded gal will happily stick this one out even if her first love wasn't Speed Racer. What? Falling in love with cartoon characters is perfectly natural...

One not-enough-seen manly man for your consideration is this Cristián de la Fuente fellow. He plays a moron team member of Blye's and Tanto's. But, think Pamela Anderson as a man. Do you really care what he's saying? Ah, no. He's like a Jean Claude Van Damme before he became a puffy egotistical goon. Truly, Cris is a layered Tarta de Santiago with whipped creme dipping sauce.

Robert Sean Leonard was perfect as Jimmy's sleazy- over bearing-what can I get out of you-brother. Rob displayed an edge of wit that lightened the mood on the scene more than once. I'll be watching him...

This is no aerodynamic drag folks. If you like Sly, or enjoy the buzz of a tight sporty cassis doing a 250 mph push 'round a smooth course you need to get out and see this. If not wait for rental.

Snack recommendation: Pickled Pig's feet, Lucky Strikes and a ice cold Bud sittin' in yer fav-o-rite coolie cup.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, Burt Reynolds, Stacy Edwards, Estella Warren, Gina Gershon, and Robert Sean Leonard.

Writing credits:
Sylvester Stallone—-Don't laugh! This guy has some pretty cool movies under his middleweight belt!

Directed by: Renny Harlan



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