Paul Walker–best known for his role as Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious films–is dead at the age of 40 in a car crash. That sentence alone is going to cause a lot of speculation. No, Walker wasn’t driving, so spare us any mangling of the definition of “irony.” Fast & Furious 7 is still in production, but the accident didn’t happen during production. And we won’t get to speculating on how much of Paul Walker’s role had already been filmed for Fast & Furious 7. It was a damn tacky question when Heath Ledger died after the production of The Dark Knight.
We’re going to dwell on remembering Paul Walker’s best work–and he had some pretty good roles. He may have only been reliable in the Fast & Furious franchise, and Walker’s other leading-man roles were in dull fare like Into the Blue and Timeline. (You won’t remember, but one was about time travel and the other was about Jessica Alba in a bikini.) Joy Ride was one of the better thrillers of 2001, though. That came out the same year as the first Fast and the Furious.
2006’s Running Scared is also a pretty amazing crime caper, and Paul Walker pretty much has to carry that one all by himself. We also liked him in this year’s offbeat horror anthology Pawn Shop Chronicles. He seemed to enjoy weird indie roles. The Fast & Furious franchise could’ve kept Walker flush until the guy surprised us with an unexpectedly great film.
It’s kind of weird to think of someone dying young at 40, but Walker was just getting started in a lot of ways. Here’s the trailer to Running Scared, which most folks will bring up as his best film. We’d probably go with Flags of Our Fathers, though. That’s from 2006, too. It was a good year for Walker. We wish he’d had more…