I can’t say I was the biggest fan of Paul Walker’s acting, but despite his shaky career there was no doubting he was a man of great presence. He had good looks, charisma, and charm, and he was one of the few American heart throbs who kept away from the tabloids to maintain his own life.
So far the public has come to know Paul Walker, an activist, spiritualist, and man who placed his job as a father over the job as an actor and performer. Paul Walker died at the much too early age of 40, and he’s being mourned as someone who still had a long way to show us what he could accomplish as an actor. And I’m sure he had so many more things he wanted to accomplish as a father, and friend to many people in his world.
Here are five great roles featuring Paul Walker in his all too brief acting career, may he rest in peace.
5. Joy Ride (2001)
An admittedly downbeat dual role for Walker who was still hitting the box office with “The Fast and the Furious,” Walker holds his own against Steve Zahn in the entertaining road horror flick. Centered on two travelers that play a prank on the wrong trucker, the pair of men must do battle with the vicious and psychotic trucker “Rusty Nails,” all he while trying to ensure they make it home safe and sound.
4. Fast Five (2011)
Though “Fast & Furious” got the band back together, Paul Walker plays well with Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster, as they go up against a brand new team of officers that will stop at nothing to bring them to jail. Meanwhile, director Justin Lin assembles the most interesting characters from the “Fast and the Furious” film series to team up for a big heist. Walker is still really good as Brian O’Conner who loves his new wife, and is intent on securing his future for his upcoming child.
3. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Though mostly just a take off on “Point Break,” Paul Walker’s arguable star making turn as Brian O’Conner fares better than Keanu Reeves. “The Fast and the Furious” was a huge hit in its time and spawned a huge film series that has centered mostly on Walker and co-star Vin Diesel. Tasked with infiltrating an underground car racing circuit that is also the source of high speed highway robberies, Walker is entertaining playing off of Vin Diesel, as a cop that goes in way too deep and eventually forms an affection for Vin Diesel’s criminal character, and his little sister.
2. Running Scared (2006)
Wayne Kramer’s crime drama is a demented and dark thriller that Paul Walker leads like a champ. As Joey Gazelle, he’s fantastic as a petty thug who gets in deeper than he can ever imagine when he’s tasked with disposing of evidence that ends up in the wrong hands. As the gun he was supposed to destroy changes hands over night through a slew of various criminals and even two very despicable pedophiles, Joey has to retrieve the gun while trying to save the lives of two young boys, one of whom is his son.
1. Eight Below (2006)
Though it’s a remake, “Eight Below” was one of my favorite films of 2006. As Jerry Shepard, he’s a dog sledder that has to go back home after a terrible storm, and leaves his group of sled dogs behind in the cold. When he learns that no one has gone to check on them, he spends most of “Eight Below” desperately trying to get back to them and ensure their safety. Half of “Eight Below” features Jerry’s dogs fending for themselves in the cold Antarctic wilderness as they fight off starvation, dehydration, and struggle to stay alive. As Shepard, Walker gives a touching turn as a man who loves his partners and will do whatever he can to reach them.