The name Brian O’Connor still leaves us poorer by a tear or two, and it has been nearly three years that Paul Walker, aka Brian O’Connor, left us all for the higher abode on the 30th of November, 2013. As his third death anniversary approaches, here’s a throwback on the best Paul Walker movies sans The Fast and the Furious series, since we all know Brian O’Connor too well to write anything about him.
Before Brian O’Connor was created, Paul walker shone in this “pleasant” film. This 1998 release by Gary Ross revolves around two siblings David and Jennifer, played brilliantly by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. The story tracks the mysterious journey of the siblings into a black-and-white television sitcom by the same name as that of the film. Paul Walker played high school hero, Skip Martin, and the love interest of Jennifer. Pleasantville brought out the leading man in him and paved the way for “the Paul Walker” we all know now.
2) Varsity Blues
Brian Robbins turned Paul Walker into Lance Harbor, a high school quarterback in this 1999 classic on high school football in Texas. Lance Harbor being the best quarterback carried the hopes of the whole town going into a state-level championship. However, Harbor’s horrific season-ending injury pushed substitute quarterback Mox, played by James Van Der Beek, into the limelight. Although he was limited to a supporting role in this classic, but when we talk about the Paul Walker movies to watch, this one has to be in it.
3) Brick Mansions
In this 2014 crime thriller, Paul Walker donned the shirt of an undercover cop, Damien Collier. Damien gets trapped in the corrupt system and all hell breaks loose when drug lord Alexander comes into play. The intense Damien teams up with Leito to free the city from Alexander and his gang of criminals controlling the city. A classic crime-thriller with Paul Walker turning in one of his best performances, the saddest part about Brick Mansions is that it turned out to be his penultimate film.
4) She’s All That
If there is one film that brings out the versatility of Paul Walker, then it has to be this 1999 rom-com. Breaking free of the typical campus-hero roles that he was being offered, Paul Walker took on the avatar of the slimy and unpleasant Dean Sampson and how! More of an “anti-hero”, Dean placed a bet with campus-hero Zack to transform the nerdy Laney into a prom queen. This film showed that Paul Walker could play the not-so-clean roles to perfection.
5) Joy Ride
Joy Ride can be considered as one of the most underrated Paul Walker movies. The film, released in 2001, revolves around three friends- Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski- and their supposed “joy ride” turning into a nightmare when they prank a mysterious trucker over the CB and get to know that the trucker would follow them to death. Turning in one of his best performances, this film deserved much more than it actually got, and certainly makes it to the list of top Paul Walker movies to watch.
Paul Walker plays the character of the handsome Chris Johnston in this 2003 sci-fi based on a namesake novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Richard Donner. Chris’ father, an archaeology professor, gets sucked into a wormhole and is transported back in time to the year 1357. The film tracks the journey of Chris and how he brings his father back to the modern world. One of the numerous reasons to watch this classic is the incredibly good looks of Paul, which makes you forget the things happening alongside!
7) Running Scared
Along with Eight Below and Flags of Our Fathers, the year 2006 was wonderful for Paul. Written and directed by Wayne Kramer, this crime drama revolves around how Joey Gazelle, a petty mob enforcer, lands the job of disposing of the gun that killed some bad cops. All hell breaks loose when the gun gets into the hands of a 10-year-old boy, and he shoots his stepfather with it. Running Scared saw Paul Walker putting in an intense act, but the film’s collections didn’t live up to its quality.
8) Eight Below
The best Paul Walker movies have always been underrated, and this is no exception. This 2006 Disney classic wasn’t well received by the mass at first, but then became a cult classic that people love to watch. Eight Below, directed by Frank Marshall, has Paul walker as Jerry Shepherd. The film follows Jerry’s quest as a sled-dog trainer in search of sponsors to rescue his dogs when extreme weather forced a mission to be called off. This Disney film is a great piece of work by Frank Marshall, and certainly one of the best Paul Walker movies.
9) The Skulls
Pairing Paul Walker with director Rob Cohen of The Fast and the Furious fame for the first time, this film showed how versatile an actor Paul could really be. Playing the role of Caleb Mandrake, Paul subtly handled the character. Caleb, coming from a wealthy background, became friends with Lucas, who was poor to be apt. The film revolves around an Ivy League secretive society, and somewhat loosely based on the secret Skull and Bones society of Yale University. Certainly one of the best Paul Walker movies, The Skulls represents Paul in a great way and makes use of his versatility as an actor.
10) Into The Blue
This 2005 film starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba as Jared and Sam remains one of the best Paul Walker movies. Jared and Sam live on a small battered boat, hunting treasures unsuccessfully. Though they couldn’t find any treasure, they were perfectly happy living with each other. However, everything gets messy once they discover a historic wreck, and find alongside a huge amount of cocaine. The film captures the fear and mood completely and offers a great watch to viewers.
Paul Walker plays the role of a bank robber in this 2010 thriller. Together with his group, Paul’s John Rahway completes a heist and lives a luxurious life, only to be brought back into business by a former group member Ghost, who tells them to make a grand heist of $20 million from an armoured car. Matt Dillon as a reckless cop get on their heels, and what follows is a pulsating watch. Takers remains a classic heist story, and Paul shone even among a pack of famous actors.
12) Vehicle 19
We all loved Paul behind the wheels, we still do and Vehicle 19 gives us all the more reason to do so. This 2013 film has Paul as an ex-con Michael Woods, who gets himself into a dangerous situation when he rents a car. The cops being corrupt criminals didn’t help either, and Paul’s Michael has to deal with it all alone. An edge-of-the-seat thriller, Paul Walker nailed this performance. Moreover, Paul with a car is what we love to see, isn’t it?
So, in honour of his life and his works and the legacy which he left behind quite early, these are the 12 best Paul Walker movies that you can get down to watch, and feel tears rolling down your cheeks unknowingly.