Saturday, December 7, 2013
PAUL WALKER: FAST AND FURIOUS..and so much more (REST IN PEACE)
Me and my friend Starla decided to honor Paul Walker, who just recently died in a car crash. She has chosen three films she will talk about on her facebook page. I decided to write about the Fast and Furious series in which Paul was no doubt a big factor in its success.
Let’s roll back the clock to 2001 and see where it all began. It was summer of 2001 and this little movie called The Fast and the Furious exploded at the cinemas. Paul was cast as Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner who goes undercover in the world of street racing to find out who has been hijacking trucks hauling goods. He encounters local legend Dominic Torreto (played by Vin Diesel) and quickly becomes part of Dom’s crew. Brian also falls for Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) while keeping his identity under wraps and dealing with Johnny Tran, Dom’s enemy.
The 1/4 mile race at the film's climax between Dominic and Brian
From it’s small beginning Fast and Furious opened to $40 million dollars that opening weekend and went on to make over $140 million that summer.
Good friends Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker)
Let’s keep in mind that when most people say fast and furious series is successful because of Vin Diesel and granted the man has a huge fanbase, but Paul Walker is the piece that has kept the series going through the years when Vin left.
Case in point for the sequel, 2 Fast 2 furious (2003) Paul returned but Vin did not. This time Tyrese came aboard as the smart aleck Roman Pierce and immediately had good chemistry with Paul.
The action shifted from Los Angeles to Miami and the racing and the action was just as good but this time Paul was squarely in the driver’s side. 2 Fast 2 Furious was a solid hit, earning just under $130 million, prompting a third movie called Toyko Drift, but without Paul or Vin. And it stalled at the box office, earning only $66 million. That was in 2006.
Brian O'Conner is the man to beat now in 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
It would be another three years beore another Fast and Furious movie would hit cinemas. And it was worth the wait as the original cast members from the first film all came back: Paul, Vin, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez in the pivotal role as Dom’s girlfriend Letty.
Was audiences ready for this comeback? Oh yeah, the opening weekend for this 4th film logged $70 million, which was more than Toyko Drift made during it’s entire run. Fast and Furious was back up and running and would not be stopped.
Paul’s character Brian O’Conner was back on the force but teams up with Dominic when a new bad guy threatens the ones they love. It was good seeing the guys back together and doing their thing.
Brian O'Conner (Walker) and Dominic Torreto (Diesel) in the mix again
The ending would set up what I think is the best Fast and Furious movie so far, Fast Five. That film has one of the most audacious opening scenes in film history and sets the tone immediately.
It’s bigger and bolder than any previous Furious film before as it brings back all the major characters from the previous films, moves the action to Rio and adds one super macho Dwayne Johnson to the mix to make one hell of a movie! It earned a mammoth $209 million during the spring of 2011 and cemented the fact that Fast and Furious was now a major player in movie franchises.
Paul, Jordana Brewster and Vin in FAST FIVE
The recently released 6th installment called Fast and Furious 6 was a gigantic hit as it earned nearly $240 million stateside and over $700 million worldwide. It’s amazing to see how this little series started out and now is one global juggernaut.
And like I said, I know most people would say it’s because of Vin Diesel’s presence. But you have to give a lot of credit to Paul walker as an important piece to the success of this series as well. I remember most critics and non-fans wrote off the first movie as a B movie version of Point Break, which to some degree it is. But I think the introduction to the world of street racing to mainstream audiences made the film and entire series stand out from Point Break and all other films of it’s like. And I do believe if there was no chemistry between the characters in the film and no progression over the course of 13 years, it would have got old fast and faded away but it is one series that has actually gotten better over time.
Paul and Jordana in FAST AND FURIOUS 6
At the time of his death, Paul was in the midst of filming the next chapter of the series and now it will be left up to the writers to see how this will affect the storyline. I do hope they honor his character and Paul himself with a worthy story and movie that will leave a wonderful memory to audiences everywhere.
GODSPEED PAUL WALKER!
Smiling faces of Paul and Jordana