Nov. 30, 2013 – that was the date when one of Hollywood’s nice guys passed away. People who knew actor, Paul Walker, described him as someone that became like a brother when he was your friend while others said he was an angel with the most beautiful smile.
Hidden underneath all of that was also a kind soul that was always eager to help out various charities. He was even on the way back from a charity event on the day that he tragically died in the car accident that claimed his life.
Now any film critic or journalist will honestly tell you that Paul Walker was no Daniel Day-Lewis or Leonardo Di Caprio, it was unlikely that he was ever going to win an Oscar for his outstanding acting performances. Instead he was the kind of actor that made enjoyable films that were fun for an audience to go and watch.
Let’s take a look at some of Paul Walker’s top films:
“Joy Ride” (2001) – “Joy Ride” or “Roadkill” (as it is known in some countries) is a hidden gem in the horror thriller genre. What was a veiled a ‘teenage thrill ride’ was actually a film that could give you goosebumps the next time a truck sails past you on the freeway. All thanks to a great little script from the legendary J.J. Abrams.
Walker plays Lewis Thomas a young student who decides to drive across country to visit his best friend (and he hopes to be soon girlfriend) Venna (Leelee Sobieski). Along the way though he has to pick up his brother, Fuller (Steve Zahn), who has once again got him into a spot of bother. It’s there that the fun (or should that be horror) starts when Fuller decides that it would be fun to get a CB Radio and play jokes on truck drivers. Soon they have a psychotic truck driver named Rusty Nail (Matthew Kimbrough/Ted Levine) coming after them as he doesn’t like being the victim of a joke.
Often these kinds of teen horrors fall flat on their face but here Abrams’ script absolutely nails it. The suspense is raised to eleven and even after watching the film a number of times there are a more than a few moments that will make you jump.
“Varsity Blues” (1999) – One of the first film roles that made people sit up and take notice of a young actor named Paul Walker was “Varsity Blues.” The film was designed to show that “Dawson’s Creek” star James Van Der Beek could also be a big screen star, but instead it was Walker who impressed those who saw the film.
Here Walker plays Lance Harbor the star quarterback of a High School football team based in Texas. Lance has everything he’s the most popular kid in school, he’s the town darling and he looks set for a college scholarship. But then everything turns bad when Coach Kilmer (Jon Voight) pushes him too far and he does a knee injury that ends his season.
Walker showed in this role that he had more than just good looks, that he actually had some acting skills, more than enough actually to see him make it in Hollywood.
“The Skulls” (2000) – Paul Walker also showed his skill and another film that was to showboat another “Dawson’s Creek” stars’ ability. With director Rob Cohen at the helm “The Skulls” was supposed to be a teen thriller led by Joshua Jackson.
Jackson played Lucas McNamara a gifted young student who joins a ‘special’ college fraternity known as The Skulls in order to make sure that he is accepted into his dream college and course – Harvard Law. Soon his friends Chloe Whitfield (Leslie Bibb) and Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker) are also wrapped up in the deadly game that comes directly from The Skulls.
On reflection the story behind “The Skulls” doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is still a worthy thriller that at times has you on the edge of your seat.
“The Fast And The Furious” (2001) – Twelve months after “The Skulls” Paul Walker again worked with director, Rob Cohen. This time in a film that would turn into a franchise that would change his career that would change his life and make him one of Hollywood’s most famous stars.
Walker exploded onto the scene as Agent Brian O’Conner a cop who goes undercover as a street racer in a bid to bring down a group of criminals including Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). But soon Brian finds himself enjoying the lifestyle and even falling in love with Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).
This was a role that really allowed Paul Walker to shine. There were scenes of intense drama between Dom and Brian plus Walker got to indulge in some stunt work and embrace a huge love in his life… fast cars.
“Fast Five” (2011) – Ten years into the franchise and it was starting to lose its appeal a little. Paul Walker had appeared in some, Vin Diesel had appeared in some. Truth be told though the franchise was always a little on the nose when they both didn’t appear in the same film. But then came “Fast Five” the film that saw director Justin Lin turn the whole thing on its head.
Paul Walker had begun to make a name for himself as an actor that enjoyed stunts and Lin pushed him to the limits as Brian and Dom tried to outrun some new law enforcement officer, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). The good news was that Walker was up to the challenge and he more than proved himself as an action star as well as a half-decent actor.
If you’re looking at a way to remember the fun loving Paul after his tragic death then why not give these five films a bit of spin and remember the good times?