When Paul Walker tragically died in 2013 at the young age of 40, he took with him a promising future. Part of that future revolved around the Fast & Furious franchise, one he started alongside co-star Vin Diesel. One of those movies in the franchise is finding a new audience as it is number ten on the HBO Max streaming platform.
2 Fast 2 Furious sees a return of Paul Walker’s former Los Angeles cop Brian O’Conner, who now finds himself a fugitive for allowing Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) to escape from authorities. This time, we won’t be seeing Toretto in the sequel, as his character would remain mysteriously absent throughout.
O’Conner’s departure from the L.A. police force and subsequent fleeing takes him to Miami, where he begins to make his living by participating in illegal street racing. These illegal races are run by O’Conner’s friend, Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges).
After O’Conner (Paul Walker) wins a race, the police arrive and he is abruptly taken into custody. While in custody, O’Conner is approached by his former boss, FBI Agent Bilkins and U.S. Customs Agent Markham (James Remar) with an offer. Go undercover to help take down Argentinian drug lord Carter Verone and in return, O’Conner’s criminal record will be wiped clean. Verone is played by Cole Hauser, who does “bad guy” really well (Pitch Black) and also does “good guy” just as well (Yellowstone).
Joining O’Conner (Paul Walker) is Agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) who has been undercover in Verone’s organization for a year and agrees to bring O’Conner into the fold. O’Conner agrees with a stipulation – he gets to pick his partner.
O’Conner (Paul Walker) chooses Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), a childhood friend who’s done time for housing stolen cars, a charge he blames O’Conner for.
The two pair up and along with Agent Fuentes, begin their mission to bring down Verone. O’Conner and Pearce find themselves hired by Verone to confiscate a package held by Verone’s rivals. As this is a Fast & Furious film, it revolves mainly around cars, how fast they can go, and as many stunts as possible with said cars.
O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) find themselves in a car race in order to obtain the package, which they eventually do, but not before their cover is almost blown by an overzealous Agent Markham.
What O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) have found out, though, is that Verone is planning to launder a lot of money before escaping on his private jet. Fuentes also informs them that Verone plans on killing them after they help transport his money. Markham refuses to call off the job.
When O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) begin, they have Verone’s men accompanying them, riding alongside, to make sure nothing goes wrong. But wrong is how things go. Again, the attraction to Fast & Furious films is the cars and the chases. This one takes all players on a big one throughout the city.
O’Conner and Pearce finally meet up with Verone, who has a secret or two of his own.
2 Fast 2 Furious wasn’t in the plans until after the first film premiered. Its success (over $207 million at the box office on a $38 million budget) moved producers to fast-track the film, and while Paul Walker was game for 2 Fast 2 Furious, the problem they were running into was the return of Vin Diesel.
John Singleton took on directing duties for the Paul Walker movie, but as he was brought aboard, it was still unclear as to whether Vin Diesel would return as Dom Toretto. For this reason, two scripts were penned. One involved Diesel’s Toretto and the other had him written out of the film.
Based on the success of the first film and seeing the potential of a possible franchise, Vin Diesel was offered $25 million for the sequel. But he read the script and felt it was inferior to the first film and didn’t offer much of a future. He turned the film down, instead choosing to make The Chronicles of Riddick.
While Paul Walker was on board, Vin Diesel wasn’t the only one to turn down 2 Fast 2 Furious. Another actor from the first film decided to turn down a half-million-dollar paycheck, wanting more money. Singleton called out rapper Ja Rule on his decision. “Ja got too big for himself. He turned it down. He turned down a half a million dollars,” Singleton said via Grantland. “He got 15 grand to be in the first movie. He was really big at that time. I guess Murder Inc. was throwing out hits and were making money hand over foot. He was acting like he was too big to be in the sequel. He wouldn’t return calls.”
Since that time, Singleton and Ja have talked and made up. “Years later I saw Ja Rule at the Source Awards and we joked about it,” Singleton continued via Grantland. “I took him under my arm and said, ‘Man, when I call you, you listen. I ain’t calling you for no bullshit.’ He said, ‘Yeah, man, I’m sorry about that.’ He apologized. I love Ja.”
Paul Walker, though, made the decision to return. The script, written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, removed Vin Diesel and featured Walker. It was a decision that brought home over $236 million at the box office. It also showed that Fast & Furious was going to be the franchise they hoped for.
Paul Walker would go on to star in four more Fast & Furious movies before his tragic death. He was, in fact, still filming Furious 7, when he, along with friend Roger Rodas, were killed when the car Rodas was driving and Walker was a passenger, hit a concrete lamp post and two trees, causing the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT to burst into flames. Both men were trapped and died inside the car.
Paul Walker was very much a car enthusiast. Before his death, he was said to have owned upwards of 30 cars, many of which were co-owned with Rodas. It’s unfortunate that cars were such a large part of his life and the sole reason for his death.
Paul Walker never married but he did have one child, a daughter who, at 22-years old, is slowly venturing into the world of entertainment.
You can see Paul Walker in 2 Fast 2 Furious on HBO Max.