ninth symphony films - movie reviews

DRIVEN (2001)

DIRECTOR  -  renny harlin

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  113 minutes

RELEASED  -  27 april 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  driven

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $72,000,000
driven - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from driven at

buy the dvd from driven at

eddie murphy returns as the doctor who can talk to the animals. this time, it's dolittle versus darwin in the ultimate man versus nature showdown, in the midst of the animal kingdom's first labor strike.

sylvester stallone's original script was 220 pages long.


picture from driven

picture from driven

picture from driven


two out of four possible stars

All right, I freely admit it. I went to this film with lowered expectations. I mean, it's just an action film, right? Good guy, versus bad guy . . Blah blah blah. But I was surprised when the film turned into more than just an action film. Which I believe might one of Renny Harlin's goals in making films. With the exception of that dreadful Pirate Movie, most of harlin's big budget action flicks are not only fun to watch, but full of interesting characters. Now i'm not trying to compare deep blue sea to Schindler's list or anything, but Harlin's got a good way of making his stories a bit more appealing than the usual action flick fare.

And this film was probably also helped by the fact that Sly Stallone wrote the screenplay. I don't think people give him enough credit for having a decent sized brain in his head. And Sly's script is good in this film. But it is also helped by a more than decent cast and some really fantastic special effects (apparently, another one of Renny's trademarks). In fact, sometimes I felt as though I were watching a 3-d film when the pieces of shrapnel came flying at the camera. Add to that: I was in the most gigantic movie theater I've ever seen. The chairs alone were twice my size! I felt like alice in wonderland.

I think that probably the best part of this film was the fact that there were no strict "good guys" and "bad guys." Everyone has their likeable moments and their dark moments and it becomes hard to "root" for just one person. Although the ending is a typical happy hollywood ending, it doesn't feel too cheesy and concocted. That's not to say that some parts of the film were not just a little bit crackers and cheese. But this stems mainly from some awkward dialogue that just didn't seem to fit the characters. For example, at one point, Til Schweiger's character "Beau Brandenburg" has a heart to heart with sly's chracter, "Joe Tanto," and the weepy feelings that Beau expresses, don't always fit with the hard-nosed character.

That's not to say that brandenburg was just a mean spirited person, but the dialogue came off just a little weak for the character. And that happened for more than one character. The attitudes presented by the character of "Jimmy Bly", played by Kip Pardue, sometimes didn't ring true for his character. He seemed to flip flop many times on his opinions. Though this problem seemed to correct itself about two-thirds of the way through the movie. One point i have to say is an improvement over previous films is the semi-love interest for Sly's character.

Although Stacy Edwards character of "Lucretia Jones" is thirty-five and sly is almost fifty five, at least she wasn't a 22 year old model. Although there is the twenty year age difference between the two, I still feel that Edward's character was an improvement over what is typically the romantic interest for older leading men (has anybody seen Entrapment lately??) And speaking of leading ladies, i have to give kudos to Gina Gershon's performance as "Cathy Moreno." her performance was the perfect example of a character who you'd love to hate, but by the end of the movie, you end up liking.

She gives a few very powerful verbal stabs to Stacy Edward's character in the middle of the movie, but she has a real devotion to her current husband, the character of "Memo Moreno," played by Cristián de la Fuente. One of the only real problems with this film has to be with Burt Reynolds. Now, I'm not here to knock his performance or anything, but is it my imagination, or does he look like he's had a face-lift? His face is all stretched and taught like one of those 75 year old ladies who's had about a dozen face lifts and will soon be blinking her lips.

In fact, Reynold's face was soooooo annoying, that I kept thinking of the bad guys in Star Trek: Insurrection. They had that same pulled-face look. But even though I was supremely annoyed with his appearance, Reynold's performance as a wheelchair-bound racer seemed right on the mark. A performance though that seemed to be sort of weak was that of Estella Warren, who played "Sophia Simone." She was just kind of vapid and did not have the type of large personality that would have better suited the character. I cannot complete this review though without writing a few words on the special effects.

They were really fantastic. And although I felt there were more crashes during the races than the actual crash rate at real-life races, the effects were stunning nonetheless. So in conclusion, I'd like to say that this film is much better than those brain-dead critics with their newspaper columns would have you believe. It is not just a mindless escapade into action movie territory. The combination of good performances (mostly) and good special effects make a okay script into a very enjoyable film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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