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Film / Driven

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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. Meanwhile, journalist Lucretia Clan (Edwards) stands on the sidelines and romances Joe.

This film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Cars: Pretty much every single thing related to the subject of automobiles and auto racing is portrayed inaccurately. When Ebert & Roeper reviewed this film, they had Jay Leno on as a guest. Anyone who knows Leno knows he loves cars and racing, owning one of the biggest vintage car collections in the United States. He happily went on at length about how inaccurate the film was.
  • 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. The crowner has to be the scene of the main characters having an impromptu race in their race cars through the evening Chicago rush hour. To begin with, they shouldn't have been able to fasten their seatbelts or even start the car - those things, and a lot of other technical requirements, have to be performed by the mechanics before the car is ready to go. And in the event that they had somehow pulled off such a reckless stunt, they most definitely would have been sacked (not to mention arrested for speeding and driving a non-roadworthy vehicle).
  • Award-Bait Song: "I Wanna Get Back With You" by Mary Griffin.
  • 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 who Ironically have cameo appearances as themselves.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carl, and later Beau.
  • Large Ham: Joe and Carl both have their moments.
  • Magical Security Cam: 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 special effects, free-floating tracking camera and all.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Joe Tanto retired from racing prior to the events of the movie, but is brought back in by Carl Henry to act as a mentor to Bly.
  • 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.