By Zack Mandell
Paul Walker has been in the public eye since he starred in the film "Varsity Blues" in 1999. Since then, he has made several exciting and memorable films, but he is best known for his work in the films from "The Fast and the Furious" series. This summer, "The Fast and the Furious 6" hits theaters, and this newest release gives fans a reason to revisit some of his other top films.
Many fans consider "Fast Five" to be Walker's best movie. This film, which was released in 2011, is also called "The Fast and the Furious Five" and "The Fast and the Furious Five: Rio Heist." The film follows Walker's character Brian O'Conner as he works with Dominic and Mia Toretto, played by Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster. Together, the threesome try to steal $100 million from a crooked businessman. Their attempts at the heist are made even more difficult due to the fact that the group is being pursued by an agent from the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service. Although a street-racing theme was a central part of the other films in the series, there was only one street race in this film. Instead of street racing, the directors wanted to focus more on action scenes that consisted of gun fights and brawls. Playing an FBI agent who turned into a criminal, Walker trained extensively for the role and did many of his own stunts in this action-packed thriller.
According to many fans, Walker's second most notable film to date is "The Fast and the Furious." This action film was the first in the series, and it helped propel Walker to a greater level of fame. Although many people think the film was based on a 1955 film with the same name, it was actually inspired by a magazine article about street racing that appeared in "Vibe" magazine. In this film, Walker also plays Brian O'Connor; however, in this film, he is not an FBI agent turned bad. Instead, he is working for the FBI. A former officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, Walker was sent undercover to try to stop a group of hijackers. In order to get closer to the action, he works at a chop shop. It is at the chop shop that Brian first connects with Dominic Toretto.
The fourth film in the series was titled "Fast & Furious", and for many fans, this is Walker's third most important film. Walker also plays Brian O'Conner in this installment. Although the film was the fourth to be released, it is actually third in chronological order. In this film, Walker's character is still working for the FBI, and he is trying to find a drug dealer named Arturo Braga. While searching, he finds David Park, who he eventually convinces to become an informant for the FBI. Thanks to his connections with Park, O'Connor is allowed to enter a street race. The winner of that race will be awarded a spot on a heroin-trafficking team. Through a series of twists and turns, the film finally ends with O'Connor quitting his job with the FBI.
"Eight Below" is also one of Walker's most important films, and surprisingly, it is not part of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise. In this film, released by Walt Disney pictures, Walker plays Jerry Shepard, a guide at the Antarctica research base. He is encouraged to help a researcher find a rare meteorite from the planet Mercury. Although Shepard thinks it is too late in the season to undertake such a potentially dangerous journey, he agrees to the idea, and they embark on the search using dog sleds. The journey that results is full of danger and illness, and ultimately, Shepard is forced to leave the dogs behind. He is plagued with guilt over the ordeal, and ultimately, he convinces the researchers to give him their grant money so he can rescue the dogs. Inspired by events from 1958, the tale is heartwarming and exciting.
In 2001, Walker starred as Lewis Thomas in the film "Joy Ride." Walker, a student from UC Berkeley is headed home from college for the summer. During the summer, he hopes to entice his old friend Venna, played by Leelee Sobieski, into a romantic relationship. To woo her, he buys a car and plans a cross-country drive from her school in Colorado to their childhood home. Unfortunately, Thomas is joined by his brother who invites himself on the trip to Colorado. The result is a wild adventure packed with twists and turns.
With so many great Walker films to choose from, fans can easily get their fill of Paul Walker. Whether his fans are looking for action or romance, he does it all. His most exciting work, however, are his films in " The Fast and the Furious " series.