Main cast: Sylvester Stallone (Joe Tanto), Burt Reynolds (Carl Henry), Kip Pardue (Jimmy Bly), Til Schweiger (Beau Brandenburg), Gina Gershon (Cathy Moreno), Estella Warren (Sophia Simone), Cristián de la Fuente (Memo Moreno), Robert Sean Leonard (DeMille Bly), and Stacy Edwards (Lucretia “Luc” Jones)
Director: Renny Harlin
“This movie is so gay.”
With that one pronouncement from my friend whom I watched this film with, everything makes sense. Driven is indeed “so gay”. This is not a slur against gay people – Sylvester Stallone’s debut script is full of gay imageries, long yearnful glances, and everything suppressed and repressed. It’s like Mr Stallone’s Coming Out Party, only that I think the poor man just doesn’t know what he’s getting into when he wrote this thing.
The story is all about car racing. Joe Tanto, aging champion, makes a comeback in the race track, abetted by wheelchair-bound buddy Carl and Joe’s baby-faced protégé Jimmy. That’s about it for plot. Everything else is car chases that are thrown in nilly-willy at the slightest compulsion. It is as if Mr Stallone wrote this movie after a Speed Racer high.
He wisely populates this story with red herrings, such as the macho guys’ involvements with babes. Gina Gershon is the most memorable of the interchangeable, cheesy women. Then again, Ms Gershon can play a rug and still makes it work. I can only wonder why she keeps getting stuck in thankless cheesy movies like this one.
Even the corny, cheesy, cringe-worthy dialogues and all the stupid action clichés my ticket price can buy (underdog falters, underdog feels like giving up, underdog wins!) can’t hide it. When Joe and Carl, two aging geezers, finally shower young, virile Jimmy’s head and body with champagne foams from their raised-high bottles, it all makes sense.
This is not a guy’s movie. I mean, it is literally a guy’s movie as in a guy’s movie. Am I making sense here? Well, go see that champagne pouring over young man scene, and tell me if this movie hasn’t “Hot for Jailbait” gay stamp stamped all over it. Why, Mr Stallone, I never knew!