Walker's swansong gets emotional reception

LAST RIDE: Fast & Furious 7, out on April 2 here, is the late Walker's final appearance as law-enforcement officer Brian.


    Mar 18, 2015

    Walker's swansong gets emotional reception


    PAUL Walker's final appearance in the street-racing franchise Fast & Furious left a preview audience teary-eyed at the South by Southwest festival, during the first public screening of the last film the actor made before he died in a car crash.

    In the film, Vin Diesel's character says "those who are lost go on in the hearts of the living", and that was how it felt for many fans attending the midnight screening on Sunday.

    Fast & Furious 7, out in cinemas on April 2 in Singapore, is Walker's last appearance as law enforcement officer Brian O'Connor. The 40-year-old died as a passenger in a one-car crash in Santa Clarita, California, in November 2013.

    Before the screening, the film's producer, Neal Moritz, appealed to viewers not to reveal what becomes of Walker's character in the franchise, which has grossed more than US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) globally.

    "We honestly lost a dear friend, brother, comrade, while we were making this movie," Moritz said. "When we decided we were going to continue this movie, we were determined to honour his legacy and our love for him."

    Walker had completed most of his scenes before his death, but Comcast Corp-owned Universal Pictures was forced to put production on hold to figure out how to continue filming without him.

    Walker's brothers stepped in for a few remaining scenes, which make a seamless transition in the completed film.

    Brian appears within the first 15 minutes as a settled family man, but he is restless for the underworld of crime, illegal street racing and heists led by Diesel's Dominic.

    Filled with one-liners, the plot sees Diesel, Walker and co-stars Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Michelle Rodriguez take on a villain (Jason Statham) in cities across the world.

    Despite Walker's death, film-makers did not shy away from the turbulent storyline of Fast & Furious 7 in which his character, along with the rest of the cast, are thrown into high-octane, life-threatening situations.

    In one scene, all five drive cars out of an airplane and parachute into a mountaintop race.

    The film ended with a tribute to Walker, closing with the words "For Paul" written in black against a white backdrop.