Paul Walker (1973 – 2013)
“I live by ‘Go big or go home.’ That’s with everything. It’s like either commit and go for it or don’t do it at all. I apply that to everything. I apply that to relationships, I apply that to like sports, I apply that to everything. That’s what I live by. That’s how I like it.”
The last thing I expected to see on the news on a Sunday afternoon was the death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker. I’m not usually a guy to get emotional about celebrity deaths but this was different. Getting news that the star of a film franchise, that I’ve watched countless times, died got to me a little as I sat back in silence for a few minutes. He intrigued me as an actor but I’ve put back watching his movies for quite a while now. There’s no lying that he may not have been the best actor during his earlier years but as the Fast & Furious movies progressed he seemed to grow drastically and matured into a solid actor. As a tribute to his career and the famous film franchise he has left behind, I shall finally watch his films!
Running Scared – (Roze-Rating: 4 / 5)
And I thought Fast 6 was relentless. In this gangster flick we see Paul Walker caught in the middle of a series of fuck ups. It may not attempt to do anything emotionally substantial but what it does do is provide us with almost two hours of cussing, blood and commotion. It may not sound appealing but to anyone who likes the combination of gratuitous violence and gangster warfare then this may be the perfect film to curl up with your girlfriend to, providing she’s into that. Paul Walker puts it all out there with probably his best performance in film, he shouts “fuck” numerous times, lays in his own blood and even drives his car recklessly (for any fast and furious fans), the whole package right there. What this film does do in substance is show us that the world is a messed up place filled with sick people, for every good deed could lead to a bad one, who can we trust really? Its style may annoy you as the editing is fast paced but it may just intrigue you as it did me, hitting home that chaotic tone you get from start till finish. You may not remember it for long but when someone asks you “do you know any fucked up films which will make me cynical of the world but make me laugh at it at the same time?” then Running Scared will come to mind.
Eight Below – (Roze-Rating: 4 / 5)
When we see a movie associated with Disney we already know a few things about the film, it’s going to be inspiring, emotional and cute. Those assumptions were true for this film. It wasn’t cute in a sickly way; I mean would you look at those dogs. Paul Walker is a guide for a base located in Antarctica which involves taking care of eight sled dogs who ultimately become stars of the film as well. What I like about this film is that it’s as much of a survival story of eight dogs as it is a sad story of loss and loyalty for Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker). This film proves that dogs surprisingly can act, they may not be aware of it but as a group they illustrated many human emotions. Their survival story is just as good as any as they show loyalty to each other and grief when tragedy hits. At the end of the day there wasn’t much to the rescue not like the first third of the film where we’re exposed to the extreme conditions of Antarctica and just how unforgiving the barren land is. It’s the fact that Shepard is determined to attempt a rescue because he feels he owes that to the dogs. Even animals can create that bond with humans. It’s quite a heartwarming story of friendship, loyalty and persistence for both man and his best friend.
Takers – (Roze-Rating: 2.5 / 5)
Walker stars alongside an ensemble cast in this cops and robbers thriller. With the likes of Paul Walker, Idris Elba, T.I., Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen and Michael Eely as the robbers and Matt Dillon as your over working cop, it sure is a star studded cast for the audience to enjoy. Takers is a completely by the books film as they take the most clichéd formula from the heist genre. It had so much promise at the start but fizzled out into a film with no heart. The problem is that it’s too ambitious for its own good but too scared to take risks, as we see reused idea’s from other films living up to its name “Takers”. We have an Ocean’s 11 team (who have the same taste in personal vehicles as the modern Italian job crew), a divorced cop (hasn’t taken the memo and still works too hard), a matrix dive and a Mexican standoff; hardly original. What this film says to me is that they had a concept then wrote a script as fast as they could because what started off so well ended up being so bad. The opening scenes are brilliant as we are taken through what seems like a standard heist for this crew, they’re smart about their entrance, collected during their robbery and slick with their exit; more of that please. Then we get to learn more about the characters, we see them draped in the best suits money can buy obviously addicted to their materialism which is probably what got them into the heist game in the first place. when Dillon gets close to the team’s next heist, that’s where things get interesting, the goose chase is engaging but its final act isn’t. We’re hit with slow mo sequences dubbed with dramatic music, what’s meant to be emotional isn’t. There’s no good reason for what’s happening therefore nothing comes of it. At least it holds a few positives like the opening heist and Brown’s on foot chase, filmed terribly mind you but it was exciting none the less. Unfortunately films aren’t viewed for its potential but for the execution and sadly it wasn’t executed well enough.
Fast Five – (Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5)
It definitely takes a different angle of the franchise, remolding it into a full on heist film. Fast Five is a lot louder, thrilling and action packed compared to its predecessors making it possibly the best of the series; just as it was about to become boring. Despite the relentless action, I felt it became too much in the end. Ultimately all I can remember is loads of music and not much dialogue. Sometimes it’s good, but in this case, whenever there was dialogue it was incredibly cheesy and cliché, which didn’t give the action justice. Even though it was let down in that aspect of the film, the cast were still solid as usual exuding badassery. Seeing members from previous films teaming up was awesome to see, definitely a lot of fun.
Into The Blue – (Roze-Rating: 3 / 5)
Into The Blue takes us into the unknown where mistakes are unforgiving but if treated with respect can be hugely rewarding. With a large interest in marine biology, Walker tackles another one of his passion projects on the big screen. Filled with under water sequences and breathtaking scenery it’s definitely not an ugly movie especially when Jessica Alba is in the shot. It may not be your typical treasure hunter film as it doesn’t capture adventure like your classic Indiana Jones films but it does take you to the bottom of the sea where most of us have never been and that alone is engaging enough. If you’re like me and have a fear of sharks and think drowning is the worst possible way to die then you’ll be holding your breathe involuntary throughout this film as the underwater scenes immerse you into their world. That alone makes this a film worth watching for a Saturday night at home. It has a decent plot, decent cast and decent antagonists, it’s not the best film but it’s not the worst. We’re given likeable characters to root for which is enough as the script is quite thin, I guess what it misses is more excitement when their out of the water but then again hunting for treasure is repetitive and in reality isn’t as exciting as it may seem.
Varsity Blues – (Roze-Rating: 4 / 5)
If you want a slice of America then you can definitely find it here. This film screams USA! USA! USA!, because nothing is more American than football! Varsity Blues is clichéd, cheesy and tastefully rude as we’re given an insight to your average football town and their team the West Canaan Coyotes. It may not have the most original characters but it doesn’t fail to pump you up when intended and I don’t even know anything about American football, I’ll be honest I don’t even like it, but what I do respect is that it sure can make a nail biting film. This film is like a combination of Dazed & Confused and The Longest Yard (only other American Football film I’ve seen) as it captures both the antics on and off the field. In Varsity Blues case the antics off the field are a hell of a lot more enjoyable than being abused by their old school coach on it. What I like about the film is that the football players aren’t your stereotypical jocks, they get over the top treatment but they aren’t complete jackass’s, in fact they’re extremely likeable and worth rooting for. It’s a film about the pressure put on varsity players, their treated as kings and put on a pedestal. They end up becoming misguided and when football is taken away from them, they don’t know what’s next. I’ve always been aware of the sporting culture in America and I think it’s great but at high school level, a kids gotta’ have fun and this film captures a bit of that message. Only to schools with shitty coaches that is. Paul Walker doesn’t have the main role but it’s a film he can be proud of playing the eventually injured quarter back star.