Driven , written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by Renny Harlin is about a young newcomer to the racing scene, Jimmy Blye (Kip Pardue), who is becoming overwhelmed by the pressure, which is coming primarily from his brother/manager, Demille (Robert Sean Leonard), and his chief competitor, Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger). To help him out, his boss (Burt Reynolds) hires a veteran driver, Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone).

At first, Jimmy makes his comeback with questionable tactics from his partner driver, Tanto, and inspiration from his new friendship with Beau Brandenburg's ex-girlfriend, Sophia (Estella Warren). Then Brandenburg, who broke up with Sophia because she was a distraction from his racing, takes her back... and Jimmy, who had romantic feelings for her, becomes enraged and steals a prototype race car, closely followed by Tanto in the other prototype in a madcap race through the city.

Through his friendship with Tanto, Jimmy is changed. Tanto teaches him to find a quiet place inside himself. He also says that Jimmy must race for the sheer joy of racing, and tells him that at the end of the season, whether he is on top or on the bottom, he will know what he is made of. Jimmy becomes better friends with the other racecar drivers and starts to shut his ambitious brother out. Because of the change in Jimmy, his boss decides to replace Tanto with Jimmy's former partner, Memo Moreno (Christián de la Fuente).

During the course of his first race back, Memo goes on an ego trip and tries to beat Jimmy, but he gets in a horrible wreck that includes lots of flying through the air and being on fire before landing face down in a nearby stream. Jimmy drives backward on the course and off the track to go rescue Memo, but he cannot lift the car by himself (he drops it on his foot at one point) and only saves Memo with the help of Beau Brandenburg.

Jimmy's boss, however, has decided to drop him, and Jimmy's brother is trying to team up with Brandenburg. When Jimmy finds out about this, he competes in the last race despite his hurt foot, and succeeds in winning the championship with Brandenburg in second and Tanto sliding out of control into third. The movie ends with the victors happily spraying champagne on each other.

I have one thing to say about this movie: They copied Star Wars.

Seriously. First, take Jimmy. He's young and unknown, with lots of natural talent that made itself known when he raced go-carts as a child. Just like Luke Skywalker (who raced speeders). He also falls for the girl (Sophia/ Princess Leia), but she had no feelings for him and may have even been using him to teach the other guy (Brandenburg/Han) a lesson. He goes to the rescue of his friend despite personal costs and risks. In the end, through finding the joy and peace (the force), Jimmy wins the big race. I also noticed a serious resemblance between Kip Pardue and Mark Hamill... the hairstyle is the same, and the eyes are similar. Jimmy's racing suit and Luke's flightsuit are, by nature, similar, and both (of course) wear helmets. I also thought that Jimmy's voice, when talking over the comm in his racecar, sounded eerily like Luke talking over the comm in his X-wing. Jimmy Blye is Luke Skywalker.

But Luke needs a Leia: Sophia. Admittedly, Sophia mostly stands around looking cute, but there are parallels. Sophia has been involved with racing long before Jimmy entered the scene (as Leia has been involved with the Rebellion) and she knew Jimmy's mentor previously, as well. The strongest parallel between Sophia and Leia is Sophia's relationship to Jimmy. He has a crush on her which she inadvertently fuels while really in love with Brandenburg/Han.

Beau Brandenburg has been driving (flying) for a while, and seems rather mercenary at first. Through the love of Sophia (Leia), he becomes a better person, and without his help, Jimmy could not have successfully completed his heroic act. In the end, he takes second place to Jimmy, but he doesn't care because he got the girl. Beau Brandenburg is Han Solo.

Joe Tanto is a veteran at the art of racing. He's been out of the scene for a while, and he has some unfinished business to take care of. He knows the girl from way back. He knows about Jimmy's brother's betrayal (just as Obi-Wan knew who Luke's father was) but doesn't tell him. Tanto passes the heritage of his craft on to Jimmy, while he himself is 'cut down' (his car slides out of control). Tanto's encouragement of Jimmy over the comm is reminiscent of Obi-Wan's voice speaking to Luke during his death-star run. Joe Tanto is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Jimmy's brother Demille is kinda like Darth Vader. When he cannot control his younger brother (son), he takes a path that will destroy him. However, he does have a change of heart in the end.

There you have it: Driven is a wanna-be Star Wars.


Facts about Driven are from imdb.com and all plot content of both movies is from observance of the movies themselves.

Au contraire, m'dear. While I have not, as yet, seen the latest Stallone travesty, the fact of the matter is, George Lucas took the basic material with which he based the Trilogy from Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell outlines the formula for the hero story in his 400 page 1949 publication, based on his observations of stories from every culture, the world over. Lucas, according to urban legend (the source I heard was an interveiw with Joss Whedon) was inspired to use the basic tenets outlined by Campbell to write his movies.

Star Wars was neither original nor groundbreaking, instead taking elements of the monomyth (to use a term coined by Campbell), which can be found in any folk story or fairy tale, and melding them with science-fiction cantrips. For these reasons were the films such a success.

If the writers of Driven chose to refer to the classics to tell their story, more power to them.

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