Driven is a 2001 sports drama film, directed by Renny Harlin of Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Cliffhanger fame and starring Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote and produced. Co-starring alongside Stallone are Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Cristian de la Fuente, Stacey Edwards, and Robert Sean Leonard.
In a fictionalized 2001 CART season, rookie driver Jimmy Bly becomes the new rising star, having won five races. However, his position is being threatened by his arch-rival, Beau Brandenburg.
Carl Henry, who owns Bly's team, decides to take matters into his own hands by un-retiring his former driver Joe Tanto to become Bly's mentor.
Why It Sucks
- Poor acting, especially from Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds.
- It ends up just being Rocky, but with racing cars. This is not as awesome as it sounds due to a terrible storyline with underdeveloped characters, subplots that go nowhere, and cliche dialogue to boot.
- Lots of horrifyingly obvious CGI effects, such as with the flying manholes.
- It defies the laws of physics numerous times. For instance, a Champ Car (all of which were fueled by methanol) crashes into a lake. Its fuel leaks out and it somehow catches fire and causes an explosion. Methanol is extinguished by (and does not float in) water.
- Too many crash scenes which are inaccurate since in reality, there are crashes among road-racers, but they happen rarely. When they do happen, the drivers rarely get injured.
- It has a overall tasteless and inaccurate depiction of open-wheel racing. Among these examples are:
- Most single seat race cars need a team of mechanics to operate the computer systems, heat the tires, start the car with an external starter, and to strap the driver's belts since they cannot do that themselves.
- The scene of the main characters having an impromptu race in their race cars through the evening Chicago rush hour makes no sense. Not only would the average race driver be fired for such a reckless stunt, but they certainly wouldn't be able to use their regular car.
- In many scenes, the cars switch between a speedway wing setup and a road course wing setup within the same race.
- There are several errors in the depiction of the race tracks that the CART machines used.
- Joe and Jimmy could not have taken the race cars from the party as easily as they did. CART cars do not have onboard starters, so they can't be started simply from the cockpit since they would actually need a crew member with a starter motor at the back of the car to fire the engine. Most "racing cars" at shows and parties like this are usually dummy display models, without "real" engines or other heavy, and expensive, mechanical components. Moreover, if the cars actually had been authentic (and somehow could have been started), they likely would have had virtually no fuel aboard; most city fire departments have strict regulations on this for a show or display car, especially inside a hotel.
- When Jimmy Bly moves to the 7th place in the final race, he slaloms through a group of cars that, instead of trying to block him, nicely move out of his way. Also, the room that the last two of these cars leave him towards the wall is not wide enough for another car to fit through.
- There are several occasions where the drivers turn the steering wheel sharply and at a significant angle at high speeds which would actually make the car start spinning.
- It is heavily raining during the German race, but the track it takes place on is an oval. In open-wheel racing, wet weather racing is never actually allowed to take place on oval tracks (e.g. the 1998 Visionaire 500K started a few moments behind schedule due to rain, the 1997 Indy 500 was rained out and pushed back a day with the first 15 laps being run before the rain came again with the race being finished the next day, the 1990 Miller Genuine Draft 200 IndyCar race started late due to rain, and the 1996 True Value 200 was suspended for 45 minutes during a rain delay).
- In reality, drivers are linked with their car owner or team manager by two-way radio, not party lines. But in the movie other people seem to be able to get their hands on the headsets and wind up arguing with the team managers about all manner of things, suggesting a driver go against team orders and pass, even if it requires reckless driving. And the driver hears all this, all of which makes no sense and a driver would be penalized for doing so in reality.
- There are scenes where one driver speaks encouragement to a teammate while both are racing which never actually happens since they can’t communicate via radio.
- In reality, course workers respond instantly to crashes, while the drivers continue on at caution speed, a grim reminder of how dangerous the races are, and how the drivers know that they’d compound the safety issues if they were to stop and help. But in the film there's a crash where the drivers go backwards on the track while avoiding the cars to arrive at the crash site long before the safety team arrives to help out.
- The opening of the film claims that CART is viewed by 900 million people worldwide. This lofty figure surpasses the viewership of Formula One, which is actually the most-watched motorsport on Earth, and CART viewership was considerably less than what the film alleges.
- The sounds of the Champ Cars are actually those of Formula One cars since the film was supposed to be based on Formula One.
- There are a few times where the camera focuses on beautiful women in a manner that comes across as being rather creepy.
- During the first race at Chicago, Paul Page's voice is heard, a well known CART and IndyCar commentator, describing the race. However, the following shot of the TV booth shows two men, neither of whom is Page.
- The weather forecast that is shown prior to the race in Germany is supposed to be on German TV, yet they show the temperature in "Celsius" as well as in "Fahrenheit". In Germany there is no "Fahrenheit" in the weather forecasts.
- The CART champion is called the “World Champion” which is actually only used for Formula One drivers..
- The movie says that Jimmy Bly is the champion at the end which is wrong. Brandenburg went in to the final race with a 4 point lead. He led the most laps (41) = 5 point lead Bly won, Brandenburg second (20-16 = 4) 5-4 = Beau Brandenburg is the winner by one point. In CART, drivers would get an extra point for leading the most laps prior to 2004.
- Seizure-inducing editing. For instance, the shot of Demille Bly getting up from his chair was reversed to make it look like he was sitting back down in his chair.
- The film even got a bad video game adaption.
- Stallone himself does deserve credit for trying to make himself a supporting player in his own movie, an idea that he would revisit in 2015's Creed and its 2018 sequel Creed II, reprising his role as Rocky Balboa.
- The crashes are unintentionally hilarious.
- There are several cameos of real-life race car drivers.
Reception and Box Office
The movie was met with extremely negative reception, earning a 14% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Both Jay Leno and Richard Roeper have deemed it to be the worst car movie ever made. It also bombed at the box office, making only US $54 million out of a $94 million budget.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards, with Estella Warren winning Worst Supporting Actress for this film along with Planet of the Apes.
- Sylvester Stallone originally intended for the movie to be a biopic of the late Ayrton Senna, before settling on basing it on Formula One, attending many races such as the 1997 Italian Grand Prix and stating his goal in a press conference. However, he was unable to procure enough information regarding the category due to the secrecy with which teams protect their cars, so he decided to the film on the now-defunct Champ Car, known at the time as "Championship Auto Racing Teams" (CART).
- Leonardo DiCaprio was originally considered for the role of Jimmy.
- The working title for this film was Champs.
- It took four years to get the finance to make this film.
- Sylvester Stallone has since disowned this film, along with Rocky V and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
- According to the audio commentary by Renny Harlin, his original cut of the film was four hours long. Only 51 minutes of deleted footage were included as a special feature on DVD.