Film / Driven

Driven is a 2001 auto-racing movie directed by Renny Harlin, written and produced by Sylvester Stallone, and starring Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, Burt Reynolds, Robert Sean Leonard, Estella Warren, Gina Gershon, Stacy Edwards and Cristian de la Fuente.

Ambitious rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) has been fast rising through the ranks of the ChampCar World Series at the behest of his brother/manager Demille (Leonard), but his performance has recently been slacking. His arch-rival, ex-champion Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger), is rising to the top again. To bolster his performance, he dumps his fiancee Sophia (Estella Warren). Bly's team's owner Carl Henry (Reynolds) attempts to bolster his performance by having veteran Joe Tanto (Stallone) come out of retirement and mentor him, replacing his teammate Memo Moreno (Fuente). To further complicate matters, Joe's ex-wife Cathy Heguy (Gershon) is now married to Memo, and isn't pleased about Joe replacing him. The film portrays Jimmy, Joe, and Beau sparring at various races to win the championship. Yet another character, journalist Lucretia Clan (Edwards) stands on the sidelines and romances Joe.

Was originally going to be about Formula One, but this was scrapped to be about Champ Car instead because Stallone couldn't procure enough information about the former, and couldn't get enough access to film at the real life races. Was not well-received by critics, on the grounds of unrealistic plot dynamics, underdeveloped characters, bad acting, bad special effects and an all-round tasteless portrayal of auto-racing. There are even some theories that it contributed to the dissolution of Champ Car itself.

This film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License Physics
    • To elaborate, there is very little about the actual crashes that are inaccurate. Most of the crashes are actually dumbed down compared to real-life incidents in open-wheel racing, and Bly's Japan crash is nearly identical to Bobby Rahal's 1998 crash at the same track. Only a very small number of crashes, most notably the Memo Moreno crash, genuinely defy physics. However, virtually everything else about the cars and the racing is a failure in physics - even the overtaking fails on a physics level.
    • Champ Cars were fueled by methanol. It does not float in water, burns invisibly and quickly, and is extinguished by water. Why does it set off an explosion in a lake?
  • Artistic License Sports: It's not very accurate to the real life series (see below and on the trope page for examples)
  • Award Bait Song: I Wanna Get Back With You by Mary Griffin.
  • The Cast Show Off: Estella Warren is a former synchronised swimmer and member of the Canadian national team and displays this skill in a very plot-unrelated scene.
  • Conspicuous CG: There are a lot of rather noticeable CGI effects throughout the movie.
  • Expy: Six of the characters in this film are based on the following Real Life Formula One personalities:
    • Joe Tanto => Juan Manuel Fangio and Aryton Senna
    • Carl Henry => Sir Frank Williams
    • Jimmy Bly => Heinz-Harald Frentzen
    • Beau Brandenberg => Michael Schumacher
    • Sophia Simone => Corinna Betsch Schumacher
    • Memo Moreno => Roberto Moreno and Memo Gidley
  • Jerkass:
    • Jimmy's brother Demille is a full-on example of this.
    • Beau qualifies as one at first, but soon becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold when he helps Jimmy rescue Moreno from a serious accident.
  • Large Ham: Joe and Carl both have their moments.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As you can see by the above plot description, this movie has a bit of an excessive number of supporting characters. The characters of Cathy and Lucretia are almost completely superfluous to the plot.
  • Magical Trackside Camera: At one point in the final race, Joe cuts a corner of the track to get ahead of the lead car by jumping it off of the rumble strip over the grass. At the team's pit, they watch a replay of the event - the exact same footage, Conspicuous CGI, free-floating tracking camera and all.
  • Mandatory Unretirement
  • Marilyn Maneuver: A speedy race car passing a blonde (who's waiting in line) causes her skirt to get drafty and it blows up. As it does this, she shrieks abruptly and pulls her skirt back down, as she turns around to see what did this, who may have witnessed this, or both.
  • Panty Shot: See above in Marilyn Maneuver.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's stock car racing movie Days of Thunder, with CART series cars.