Hollywood continues to regroup following the news that 40-year-old Paul Walker passed away on Saturday afternoon in an automobile accident in Southern California. As fans of Walker’s work, we remain shocked and saddened by this loss. He was a talented, handsome actor in his prime, with a lucrative franchise under his belt and several underrated performances in off-the-radar indies on his resume.
As the producers of Walker’s seventh Fast & Furious movie figure out how to properly move forward in light of this tragedy, we’d like to take a moment to look back at the actor’s career and remember his highlights. Many involve cars, oddly enough, though they certainly aren’t limited to the F&F franchise.
What will stand out as your favorite Walker performance, scene or overall film?
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Any conversation regarding Walker has to start with the series that helped put him on the map. The franchise, against all odds, has improved over time, but the initial chapter is one of the most important projects in Walker’s too-short career.
Running Scared (2006)
Director Wayne Kramer gave Walker a chance to carry a crime thriller outside of the Fast franchise, and the actor responded with a layered turn as a low-level mafioso who must hide a controversial gun that was used to kill a pair of crooked cops.
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Walker had a small role in Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima memorial film, but it went a long way towards showing what he could accomplish if and when Oscar-caliber filmmakers took a chance on the young actor. It’s tragic that more directors won’t get that opportunity.
Joy Ride (2001)
Another early effort from Walker, and another film tied primarily to a car. John Dahl’s Hitchcockian premise finds three road trippers playing mind games with a trucker over a CB radio, plunging them into a nightmarish fight for survival when it turns out he’s a killer. Gritty, cheesy genre fun, with Walker holding his own in the threesome. Bonus points for a Leelee Sobieski sighting!
Fast Five (2011)
Arguably the best installment of the ongoing series. Fast Five convinced skeptics that this could be a relevant, lucrative blockbuster franchise when the material is treated properly… with camp enthusiasm but a level of respect. Walker, along with the rest of the cast, was in a groove for Fast Five. This will be the Walker movie I watch most in the months and years to come. What will yours be?