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Reviews for the week of May 1, 2001.

Wednesday:
Driven

Driven
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I know a woman who is obsessed with Sylvester Stallone. She can tell you where he was born, what every member of his family does for a living, what he looked like as a baby, and how he got started in the acting business. She owns all five Rocky movies. She has several boxes of Stallone memorabilia in her attic (Stallone posters and pictures comprised the decor of her room when she was a teenager). But when I asked if she was planning to see Stallone's new movie, Driven, she said, "No, he hasn't made a decent movie in years, and that one looks stupid."

I, on the other hand, have never been a great fan of Stallone, and thought many of his earlier movies were stupid. Neither am I a fan of action movies or sports movies in general. However, I found Driven to be a thrilling, well- plotted action movie with a great cast.

Stallone is Tanto, a has-been racer who apparently lost his touch for the sport. His former mentor convinces him to return so he can help talented rookie driver Jimmy Bly.

Although Bly is a great driver, he doesn't hold up well under pressure - recently, his driving has been suffering. It doesn't help that he gets romantic with his rival's ex-girlfriend (although she doesn't stay an ex for long).

Meanwhile, Tanto has a whole host of the usual has-been-trying-to-make-a-comeback problems of his own to work out. (Can you say Rocky 6?)

While it seems like Stallone is playing Rocky all over again, apparently it still works. Plus, the other characters, along with the well-written, fast-paced plot are great. Generally I'm not fond of excessive action scenes and special effects, but I thought the race scenes were terrific. (One scene, in which Bly and Tanto speed race cars through real city traffic, is also quite comical. Now there's a real race!)

The characters and plot were sometimes very predictable (three guesses who's going to win the championship) but Driven was still very entertaining. I highly recommend this movie - even if you aren't Stallone's most devoted fan.

My Rating = Three Stars

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