Paul Walker was never going to win an Oscar for his turn as Brian O’Conner in The Fast and the Furious franchise, but really was that ever the point? He was an entertaining, blockbuster star whether critics liked it or not. It seemed that people had to warm up to the idea of his car racing, action-packed movies. Muddling through cheesy dialogue and over-the-top explosion scenes might not a serious film make, but fun comedy mixed with adrenaline-pumping action, you better believe it. The excess of it all is pretty much the key factor that has made the franchise be at the top of the box office time and time again with Walker serving as its core. The best part is that they never take it too seriously with their dialogues, plots or action. They are meant to do things bigger, faster, better. And, they did.
With the passing of Walker (1973-2013), Twitter went wild and a high school friend was actually the first to break it to me via TMZ before other media caught on. What I thought was a hoax turned out to be sad but true and an actor that I had followed since “She’s All That” and “Varsity Blues” had died too soon in a devastating twist, a car accident.
It seems a bit out of touch to mourn the death of an actor that I had never met, but he was part of my movie-watching obsession from my late teens into my 20s and beyond. The nostalgia associated with every glimpse of Paul Walker, with every new Fast and Furious flick that debuted in theaters is now dampered by this loss. If you were to picture Walker, it would be smiling, it would be that of a guy that looks like he enjoyed his life. I rarely saw him in the tabloids and he never had that success story gone wrong. He just seemed like a good guy that made entertaining flicks. For that, he will be missed.
For those who knew him, there is far more than just the pop culture aspect that will be affected, but for me, a lowly movie lover, I can't imagine another Fast and Furious without him.