Picks and Pans Review: Driven

UPDATED 05/07/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/07/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, Burt Reynolds

When the seasoned race-car driver (Stallone) gives the talented but inconsistent rookie (Pardue) the big pep talk in this auto racing drama, he tells him that success is about will and faith. Maybe that's all that's needed at the track, but a winning movie requires a smart script, accomplished acting and an ability to steer clear of clichés, elements all sorely missing in Driven.

This turgid tire opera, written by Stallone, pits the young American buck against a speedy German rival (Schweiger), with both men chasing the same woman (Estella Warren). Stallone's old pro, who retired after a near fatal accident a few years ago, is summoned back by a crusty team owner (Reynolds) to counsel Pardue and back him up on the track.

Stallone is more mush-mouthed than ever and Pardue and Schweiger are handsome but colorless, leaving Gina Gershon to steal her every scene as Stallone's trampy former wife. For racing fans, there are vroomfuls of highspeed tableaux in which director Renny Harlin mixes octane-drenched actual footage of Indy-type cars with nifty, computer-generated special effects. There are also a half-dozen spectacular crashes, though the entertainment value of the latter is questionable, particularly so soon after the death of stock car great Dale Earnhardt. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Red flag

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