Talented but unfocused rookie Jimmy Bly is slipping in the rankings, cracking under pressure from his ambitious promoter brother. It doesn't help that Bly is pursuing an affair with Sophia, the girlfriend of his nemesis, top racer Beau Brandenburg. With so much riding on Bly, seasoned car owner Carl Henry seeks help from former racing star Joe Tanto, whose once-promising career spun out after a tragic accident that nearly killed him and another driver. But to steer Bly to the top, Tanto must navigate his scarred emotional past, maneuver around the hovering presence of a reporter covering the male-dominated racing scene, and contend with Cathy, his ex-wife, who has since married rival racing sensation Memo Moreno. Caught between success, failure, regret and the need for speed, the four competitors are driven to put the pedal to the metal in pursuit of redemption and glory.
The title of this overblown auto-racing macho soap opera is quite apt: you will be driven to the edge of your patience, driven to wonder just what the filmmakers thought they were doing, and finally driven to the box office to demand your money back. The film is a gruesome pileup of sports-movie cliches, incoherent action sequences and ludicrous plots. Its desperate use of sportscasters' voiceovers to explain what's happening on the screen is grating, but at least it provides some relief from the grandiose, incomprehensible speeches that make up most of Sylvester Stallone's script. -- A. O. Scott
2001-04-27 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Driven