The meat behind this movie isn't the story so much as it is the sound and the racing sequences.
We watch closely as these open-wheel cars scream at more than 240-miles-per-hour around the track. We witness crashes first hand, close finishes and tires flying off into the stands.
This is really a summer movie that came out one week before the official summer movie season begins. It's a fun experience on the big screen and my guess is it will turn into a waste of time once released on video.
There are three main characters in the film and a hoard of supporting ones.
There's rookie sensation Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue), who has won five races in his debut season and is turning heads left and right with his potential. There's Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger), who was on top before Bly came along and is determined to return to greatness. There's also Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone), a former great driver who was once in retirement, but who has come back to race at the urgence of car owner Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds).
Tanto's job is to simply be a blocker for teammate Bly. Bly is being paid to win, Tanto to lose. It isn't that simple for Tanto, though, who still has a passion for the sport and still has the urge to win.
Also along for the ride is Sophia (Estella Warren), the ex-love interest of Brandenburg, who has since moved on to Bly. There's Memo Morena (Cristian De La Fuente), a racing rival of Tanto's who is married to Cathy (Gina Gershon), Tanto's ex-wife. There's annoying promoter Demille Bly, the brother of Jimmy, and finally, Luc Jones (Stacy Edwards), a journalist who has one eye on her story and one eye on the Stallone character.
There are a bit too many characters in this film. They're all fairly easy to keep track of because most of them are one-dimensional, but the film can do without the majority of them.
I did, however, enjoy the three lead characters. Most films have only one clear hero and I was surprised to discover this one had three of them. We are taken through their ups and downs, their triumphs and their tragedies. I even bought the fact that each one grew through the film, even if it was just a little bit.
"Driven" isn't a "drop everything to go see it" type of movie because the plot is pretty thin. It's racing, love interests and little else.
If it's action sequences you're after, the film succeeds from start to finish. If it's a story line, look elsewhere. This one crashes and burns. ***Driven is rated PG-13 for language and some intense crash sequences. Running time is 109 minutes.