Paul Walker's death in a fiery crash Nov. 30 cast a grim shadow over his film work, especially the Fast & Furious movies for which he was most famous.
The sixth movie in the series is set for release this week on DVD and Blu-ray. The studio, Universal, has said that a portion of the proceeds will go to Reach Out WorldWide, the charity that Walker helped to start.
Those revenues should be sizable. Fast & Furious 6 ($29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo) took in nearly $800 million worldwide in theaters, and the total for the franchise exceeds $2.3 billion. The sixth film — which has a host of returning characters in pursuit of an international criminal (Luke Evans) — was so certain of success that its final scenes teased the seventh film.
That was in production when Walker died, and work has been postponed while all involved deal with his loss and consider how to address it in the movie. The Blu-ray of 6 includes a "first look" scene from the seventh film following up on the death of a character at the end of 6; it provides a possible setup for the death of Walker's character in the next movie, but it's chilling to see Walker talking about funerals.
The films were more than Walker, of course. Vin Diesel became a huge star thanks to the franchise, and the cast was a diverse mix of performers. There also were the incredible stunts — including ones involving cars and a cargo plane, and a tank chase in a nothing's-too-crazy approach to action. The glorious excess of the stunts made the more ridiculous aspects of the plot forgivable.
But watching it again in the wake of Walker's death isn't easy. The car chases now have a grim resonance; the action sequences are so enormous and explosive that it's astounding when characters walk away from them with so little damage.
Extras include deleted scenes, a making-of segment and commentary by director Justin Lin. The Blu-ray adds other making-of featurettes.
These DVDs were released this week:
Films: Despicable Me 2; Don Jon; Adore; The Angels' Share; Battle of the Year; Touchy Feely; American Bomber; Angels Sing; Berberian Sound Studio; The Hunt (Denmark); Unhung Hero; The Best of Ancient Aliens: Greatest Mysteries; The Best of the Universe: Stellar Stories; Big: 25th Anniversary Edition; Stella Dallas (1937); The Rooftop (Taiwan/China/Hong Kong); One Direction: Reaching for the Stars; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947); Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project (three Blu-ray/six-DVD combo, Criterion Collection).
TV series: Doc Martin, Series 6 (top-rated British drama-comedy series); The Game: The Sixth Season (BET series); Teen Wolf: Season 3 Part 1 (MTV); Futurama: Volume Eight (Comedy Central); Futurama: Complete Series Gift Set (27-disc set, with 2014/3014 calendar).
THE WASHINGTON POST