With the untimely and very sad passing of Paul Walker, I thought I'd take a look back and share my favorite five movies in which he starred.
5. Varsity Blues (1999) as Lance Harbor
Varsity Blues is basically only remembered by most for the 'whipped cream bikini' and Dawson's "I don't want your lahff" attempt at a southern drawl, but this is actually still a very entertaining football movie. It's your typical Friday Night Lights precursor - town/county/state is really into football, so the coach pushes the kids to the limit, but it's got a fun cast of characters and a great late 90's soundtrack. Paul Walker plays Lance Harbor, who is the starting QB for the Coyotes until he's injured, giving way to Johnny Moxon taking over.
4. Fast & Furious 6 (2013) as Brian O'Connor
In the latest offering in the Fast series, Brian O'Connor, Dom & Dobbs take on a criminal mastermind. The characters of the series take on certain 'super-human' qualities in this one, both in terms of insane physical abilities and driving skills. Yes, the characters make several inexplicable decisions (let's just say the writing is NOT the strong point of this series), ridiculous time gaps (Walker travels to L.A., gets thrown in jail, escapes from jail and makes his way back overseas in the course of a day) and it's a bit corny, but the action delivers and it really looks like the cast is having fun. Not even one of my most hated plot points in any movie (amnesia) can take this off of my top 5.
3. Fast 5 (2011) as Brian O'Connor
The series got a slight reboot with The Fast & The Furious (4th in the series), but Fast 5 is where it really kicked it up a notch and started playing to it's strengths. The plot is plainly ridiculous, but the action is insane and the addition of The Rock is welcome. The driving scene at the end of the movie involving a safe is one of my favorite action scenes ever created.
2. Joy Ride (2001) as Lewis Thomas
Walker plays Lewis, one of two brothers on a road trip (the other being the criminally underrated Steve Zahn) with a girl who'd friend-zoned him. Along the way, they run into a maniacal truck driver who calls himself Rusty Nail. It's a fun, tense thriller that doesn't take itself too seriously. I have a special attachment to this movie, as Joy Ride is the disc that really got me into DVD's - I had previously still been watching VHS, but this DVD had 4 different endings, a capability that VHS did not have access to. When I got my first DVD player, this was my first purchase.
1. Running Scared (2006) as Joey Gazelle
Another underrated movie, Running Scared is a sick, twisted fairy tale of sorts...complete with Hansel & Gretel in the middle. Paul Walker plays Joey Gazelle, a low level thug who fails to hide a gun well enough...which then spirals he and everyone around him into the depths of hell. Walker may look stiff in some movies, but his acting abilities really come out in this movie. His level of panic is pretty amazing in a movie filled with scumbags.
Honorable Mentions: Fast & Furious, She's All That, 2 Fast 2 Furious