The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007)

Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Paul Walker, Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Wilde, Jason Flemyng
A DEA agent provides former Marine Tim Kearney with a way out of his prison sentence: impersonate Bobby Z...
  • MGM Home Entertainment Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Nov 2007 Released:
  • 17 Nov 2007 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Bob Krakower, Larry Schapiro Writer:
  • John Herzfeld Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:


Herzfeld tries another Tarantino style movie5/10
The plot: Kearny, a loser convict,is pushed into impersonating Bobby Z, a larger-than-life drug dealer, in a hostage trade, only to find both his own and Bobby Z's enemies trying to kill him.

Herzfeld previously directed 2 Days in the Valley, a Tarantino ripoff if ever there was one. However, unlike most people, I actually kind of liked it. This movie is another attempt to clone Tarantino's style, heavy on flashbacks, stylized violence, and witty anti-heroes. Unfortunately, it's not all that great, but it did manage to keep my interest for the runtime.

Bobby Z is built up as a small-time celebrity in the local surfer scene, as well as a rising star in drug distribution. Kearney, on the other hand, is a three time loser with a price on his head. The movie compares and contrasts their personalities many times, with Bobby Z being revealed as a manipulative, egocentric jerk, while Kearney shows many admirable qualities despite his impulsive violence.

After a somewhat grim opening, the movie becomes quite lighthearted. In fact, I'm really at a loss as to why they even opened the movie with such a dark and disturbing bit of character development if they were just going to completely ignore it for the rest of the film. Oh well. Much of the movie is like this, however. Whenever anything shocking and dramatic happens, it's instantly forgotten by the next scene, where everyone pretends that it never happened. Even being shot seems to be glossed over rather quickly with some cursory first aid. It reminded me of a video game, where picking up a first aid kit heals your character of all wounds.

The acting was passable. It was certainly better than many direct-to-video movies, but nobody really stood out. I guess the script didn't really allow anyone to shine, though I was probably most disappointed that Laurence Fishburne was given such a bland role. Still, it's always fun to see him, even if it's in such a small and cliched role.

If you're looking for an action movie, this will probably satisfy you, but I'd be surprised if you remembered it later or recommended it to your friends.
Movie was funny, entertaining and I enjoyed it.7/10
While it's no worse than much of the action movie junk that makes it to theatres, Bobby Z, originally entitled The Death and Life of Bobby Z, is a action thriller with Tim Kearney (Walker) as our hero. Kearney is a convict who's an ex-Marine and clearly not so much a bad person as one who has frequently found himself in trouble due to circumstance rather than intent. This gives director John Herzfeld, whose own career hacs been on less than an up-tick since the appropriately named 15 Minutes came and went in about that long, a premise for having a good guy hero who still fits the label of a tough convict.

The slightly convoluted storyline sees Kearney – whose life is in peril since he killed a biker gang boss in prison (self defence, of course) – offered an opportunity to walk free, as long as he's willing to impersonate a drug kingpin who happens to look just like Kearney, and who has just died. Fishburne plays the Drug Enforcement Agency cop who puts Kearney up to this task.

Before you can say 'gunfights are fun', Kearney is being shot at by the cops, manhandled by Mexican drug thugs, pursued by the bikers, and generally in demand by everyone, regardless of whether they think he's Kearney or Bobby Z. Our hero, of course, dodges the bullets, battles the bad guys, befriends Bobby Z's son (who has never met his dad) and romances a beautiful woman (Olivia Wilde) whose relationship with the bad guys is a bit hazy, but clearly quite intimate.

Filled with head scratching twists and cornball dialogue, this is not exactly a brilliant film. Yet it's got a slick look and at least a few passably enjoyable action scenes. And Walker, while never likely to be mistaken for a Shakespearian thespian, has the good looks and charisma to lead the way here. At least his character isn't loaded down with as many stupidly threatening lines as Fishburne's. Wilde also does a passable job as Kearney's conflicted love interest; she's mainly called upon to look good (which she accomplishes rather easily), but also doesn't muff her lines when she does have something to say.

Movie was funny, entertaining and I enjoyed it.
This was fun8/10
I saw this movie last night at a special screening for audience feedback. Paul Walker really can act - I was pleasantly surprised. I originally thought he was only cast for his looks, but can see he has good acting abilities.

Movie was funny, worked well and I enjoyed it. The action scene in the kitchen was great and intense, kept me on the edge of my seat.

Lawrence Fishburn - as always - great! He's a solid actor and his role as the DEA Agent worked perfectly.

Paul's pretty love interest (Olivia Wilde from the OC)chemistry was lacking.

Chuck Liddell, although was only in the beginning of the movie was convincing. There was also a girl named Ashley who I would have like to see more of. She's hot!

The kid looks like he'll have a career ahead of him. The relationship between the kid and Paul Walker worked well and was believable. Not sure where I've seen him before, but he may have a promising career.

I liked the sequence of the movie - it starts with a mystery and the flashback kept me trying to figure out what was going to happen next. I liked the movie can't wait to see on see it on the big screen. Hope if comes out soon.
Not too bad for straight to DVD5/10
For a seemingly low budget film, Bobby Z wasn't too bad. Moves pretty quickly, but with a weak storyline and plot, it is clear why it was a straight to DVD feature. Paul Walker does a decent job with a character that an Actor won't be able to do much with, except go with the flow. No real surprises, or twists and turns, just straight to the point B rated action. Actually has some pretty good fighting sequences and shoot outs. Laurence Fishburne is surprisingly cast as a supporting with a weak performance, mainly due to the script and content and possibly direction as well. Bobby Z is definitely a good B movie, with a rating of 5 overall considering everything listed above. All in all, this film is definitely worth watching if you're just chillin' with 97 minutes to spare. And Paul Walker is not nearly as bad an Actor as everyone tries to make him out to be. Have fun.
An Above-Average Beer & Pizza Movie . . .7/10
"15 Minutes" director John Herzfeld's "Bobby Z" rates as an above-average action thriller with double-crosses, shoot'em ups, and surprises, but everything seems a little too routine in the long run. "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker plays three-time loser Tim Kearney. Herzfeld and scenarists Bob "4 AM: Open All Night" Krakower and Allen Lawrence recount Kearney's career in an amusing series of flashbacks that may be the funniest thing about "Bobby Z." In short, "Bobby Z" is a tolerable beer and pizza movie with an R-rating and about 90 minutes worth of mayhem. No,there is no nudity. The hackneyed theme of mistaken identities is played out again with little to make it memorable, but there is enough gunplay to keep you distracted. The best thing in Krakower and Lawrence screenplay is that they keep the hero on the run, outnumbered, and constantly improvising.

The plot relies on the timeworn theme of deceit. D.E.A. Agent Tad Gruzsa (Lawrence Fishburne of "The Matrix" trilogy) offers three-time loser Tim Kearney a quick and easy way to get out of prison. Kearney is eager to take Gruzsa's deal because he has just killed a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, Maddog (Chuck Liddell of "How High") with an automobile license plate when the pugnacious thug pulls a knife on him. Now, the entire Aryan Brotherhood both in and out of stir demands payback. Meanwhile, a ruthless, Mexican drug-lord, Don Huertero (Joaquim de Almeida of "Desperado"), has taken Gruzsa's partner hostage. Gruzsa has to produce a legendary, surfer dude with a reputation as an infamous pot smuggler to get his partner back to safety.

Of course, there is more here than meets the eye, but Herzfeld plays his aces close to his vest and doesn't reveal the surprises until the final quarter-hour. Anyway, Gruzsa and his new partner take Kearney to a rendezvous on the border where the exchange is scheduled to take place. During the exchange, Gruzsa shows his true colors and breaks out an assault rifle. He tries to kill Kearney, but he misses our hero narrowly when Kearney trips over the railroad between the bad guys and the good/bad guys. Gruzsa kills his next partner and snuffs some of the opposition before he clears out. Later, he checks in at a tattoo parlor run by Boom Boom (M.C. Gainey of "Con Air") and reveals that Kearney is out and across the border. Boom Boom mobilizes the Brotherhood and they set off in pursuit on their bikes.

In Mexico, Kearney is recaptured by Don Huertero's henchman and taken to his palatial estate. Kearney meets Bobby Z's girlfriend Elizabeth (the strikingly gorgeous Olivia Wilde of "Turistas") and she has sex with Kearney and knows that he isn't Bobby Z. Meanwhile, Kearney learns that Bobby Z has a child, eleven-year old Kit (Juan Villareal of "Harvest of Redemption") and the two bond when Kearney escapes from the hacienda with the bad guys hot on their trail lead by Johnson (Keith Carradine of "The Long Riders") who likes to spit every time that he meets somebody of whom he disapproves.

"Bobby Z" is complicated enough to be interesting, but it remains altogether a little too smug to be attain the greatest of something like "True Romance." Happily, Walker doesn't play a dual role. Yes, there is a happy ending that seems a little too unbelievable, but then it's only a movie. Comparably, "Bobby Z" isn't as much fun as "Into the Blue" or "Running Scared."