Many of us remember Paul Walker as a charming stud who looked good with a shirt off and could also kick the living crap out of most of us. When news of his tragic death made headlines, it was a shock to so many people.
In honour of his outstanding career, here are the ten best movies that I think not only helped catapult him into stardom, but also helped give him a more diverse acting career.
Paul Walker: 1973-2013
This film would be ranked higher on the list simply because it’s a great film, but Paul Walker wasn’t the star here. He did, however, play a young boy next door type named Skip Martin. This was an early role for him and the success of the film garnered him the attention to get bigger and better things.
9) Into the Blue
By no means a great film, Into the Blue is worth mentioning because it was not only a box office success, it proved that Paul Walker can carry a film on his own. This is nevertheless a fun movie about a group of young divers who find themselves caught up in a drug lord’s search for missing cargo. Also starring Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, and Josh Brolin.
8) Varsity Blues
Definitely one of Walker’s most known roles as injured quarterback Lance Harbor. You can tell that Walker felt right at home in this comedy drama about a high school football team being worshipped like gods in a small rural Texas town. Walker’s performance here is one of his best as he shows how the pressures of being a star athlete in a town obsessed with sports can take a heavy emotional toll.
7) Joy Ride
This creepy thriller about a psychotic truck driver terrorizing a group of young pranksters is not only taut and well executed, it shows an unexpected intensity that up to this point, Paul Walker hadn’t quite explored. Co-written by J.J. Abrams, Joy Ride is a definite must see, especially if you like minimalist, edge of your seat thrillers.
6) Flags of Our Fathers
The first half of Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima two-film epic, Flags of Our Fathers is a wonderful, intimate portrayal of how one photograph can change the course of a war. Flags investigates the lives of the soldiers who were part of this photo, and how they were essentially used by their country to manipulate public perception. Paul Walker plays one of these soldiers.
5) Eight Below
Paul Walker as a sled dog trainer fighting to rescue his team of incredibly cute pups? Let’s see, you got Paul Walker, you got adorable dogs, and you got a family friendly story? Yes, you have a huge hit on your hands. Eight Below is feel good entertainment above all else.
4) Fast & Furious 6
The last complete – sorry, I meant to say the last good complete – film Paul Walker made (because Brick Mansions was crap). That alone is reason to watch this.
3) Fast Five
This would have been number 1 on the list but Paul Walker is part of ensemble this time around. He doesn’t carry the film, but because his character – Brian O’Connor – has been around since the very first film, Paul Walker is still our gateway into this world.
2) Running Scared
An unexpected cult classic, Running Scared is arguably Paul Walker’s best movie and his best performance. The premise of the movie is essentially Paul Walker’s anti-hero Joey Gazelle having to dispose of a gun that killed corrupt cops. As things take a turn for the worst, Running Scared becomes a two hour assault on the senses that explores the darkest aspects of our humanity.
1) The Fast and the Furious
This film not only made Paul Walker a huge star, police officer turned fugitive Brian O’Connoe is easily his most recognizable role. Paul Walker will always be remembered as part of this incredibly popular franchise and his send off in Furious 7 will be a heartfelt one. The franchise just won’t be the same without him.