Warner Brothers release
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Estella Warren, Burt Reynolds,
Kip Pardue, Gina Gershon, Til Schweiger
Rating: PG-13 Graphic scenes
Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance
the folks at Nazareth Speedway, we were able to see a special sneak preview
of the new CART movie DRIVEN. Complete with a pre-movie party and
Mario Andretti as a special guest, over 100 special guests were treated to
the night we have all been waiting for.
it as a Rocky on wheels. However, whereas in Rocky, Stallone played the hero
role, in DRIVEN 54-year-old Stallone is a member of an ensemble, playing mentor to a younger,
hot shoe, played by former Yale football star Kip Purdue from Remember The Titans.
For years Joe Tanto
(Stallone) has tried to forget his mistakes, the blown opportunities, the wasted potential, not to mention the accident on the track that almost killed him and another racecar driver. But each day the pain and scars remind Joe of the once-promising racing career he threw away. When
ruthless team owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) asks him if he wants his old job back, Joe jumps at the rare opportunity for a second chance.
There’s only one catch: he has to help the rookie sensation Jimmy Bly
(Kip Pardue), who is falling from the top of the points chase because the
pressure of the media and the racing is getting to him. It’s Joe’s one chance to get back on the track … but in the name of someone else’s victory.
Team owner Henry asks Tanto to do whatever it takes to help Bly win the
championship, both on and off the track.
addresses the pre-race crowd
Photo Credit: Jim
uses both real and computer simulated crashes scenes, far more dramatic than
you are likely to see at the race track. But this is Hollywood, and
action is what people come to see. Driven is not just about guys driving
fast though, it's as much about people who drive fast cars for a living and
their everyday trials and tribulations.
competitors on the track, rising star Bly and defending champ Til Schweiger, who plays the ominous Beau Brandenburg,
battle off the track for the same women, played by Estella Warren.
Ironically, it's Tanto who settles the battle in favor of Brandenburg, but
not before perhaps the wildest street chase scene (between Tanto and Bly)
you will witness.
film has some similarities to Rocky, there are fundamental differences. Driven
is not nearly as interwoven in the personal relationships, because this world is a different kind of
world, of the racing fraternity versus the boxing milieu occupied by Philadelphia's Rocky
Balboa. In comparison, DRIVEN is a circus. It's huge. Rocky, he lived in that
neighborhood. That's his world. There's where he lived and died. In Driven, the action leaps from city to city, taking place at nine races
in five countries. It's a bit faster paced, almost too fast paced for
our taste. Even though I am a race fan, I would have preferred to see
more of the personal relationships played out a bit.
As for the
computer generated crash scenes, most were pretty realistic, but some made
us cringe for their lack of realism. Overall, and enjoyable
movie. Our only real complaint, whereas NASCAR was mentioned
repeatedly in Days of Thunder, there is no mention of CART anywhere in this
film, so if CART thinks it will get any mileage out of this movie, it won't
except from the hard-core race fans, or unless there is some sort of
30-second commercial before the film begins telling the viewers.
Guess who drives
Credit: Jim Yeager
too bad, because CART bent over backwards to help make this film a reality,
opening their doors to the film-makers. Warner Brothers is running ads
galore on TV about the movie, but nary a word about CART. As they say,
the devils in the details, and the lack of the mention of CART in the movie could
have been avoided during contract negotiations. NASCAR's presence in
Days of Thunder was prevalent, a prime example of NASCAR not missing
anything when it comes to marketing their product.
The sound quality in the movie was awesome. There were times in some of the race scenes that you could swear you were at a race track and cars were all around you.
CART's current engine package was well represented by the volume and high revving pitch which filled the theater. The reality added by this sound quality was so intense there were times that you could close your eyes and
swear you could sense the smell of methanol and rubber burning.
One aspect of Champ Car racing that came across loud and clear was the carnival atmosphere of some of the bigger races with all the pomp and pageantry. Actual pre-race footage from Long Beach, Brazil, and Miami helped the filmmaker accurately capture the excitement, glamour and glitz many at-home race fans miss on any given Sunday.
before entering the theater
Credit: Keith Green
There was also a scene in the pits (I don't recall the actual race) where Andretti and Tracy are both exiting the pits and Tracy carrying much more speed clips the back of Michael's car as he exits his pit stall. I remember the incident well as it happened in real life, it was good to see that level of realism portrayed in the film.
is suitable for almost all ages, despite the PG-13 rating. Should you
go see it? As a race fan, most certainly. Although those of us
close to the sport may find some things a bit unrealistic, after a weak
start, the movie turns out to be pretty entertaining.
what does Mario like to eat while watching movies? He said during the
party, Raisinettes. Sitting one row
behind us, we turned just before the movie began to see Mario munching on a
big box of those chocolate covered morsels.
attendance, Jeff Andretti, the next racing Andretti (Marco, son of Michael),
Mario's lovely wife, Michael Andretti's wife Leslie, and a whole host of
Andretti family and friends.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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