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The Death and Life of Bobby Z
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Index 31 reviews in total 

70 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

This was fun

Author: stanman90048 from United States
2 June 2006

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.

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Movie was funny, entertaining and I enjoyed it.

Author: NerdLife from United States
12 October 2007

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.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Not too bad for straight to DVD

Author: from United States
17 April 2009

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.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An Above-Average Beer & Pizza Movie . . .

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
13 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"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,you can forget about female nudity. The hackneyed theme of mistaken identities is played out again with little to make it memorable, butthere is enough gunplay to keep you distracted. The best thing in the Krakower and Lawrence screenplay is that they keep the hero on the run, outnumbered, and constantly improvising. As for their fidelity to Don Winslow's novel, that is another question, since I haven't read it.

The plot relies on the timeworn theme of deceit. D.E.A. Agent Tad Gruzsa (Lawrence Fishburne of "The Matrix" trilogy) offers former Marine and 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. Indeed, Kearney slashes Maddog's throat just as surely as if he had wielded a knife. 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 must 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. You will be amazed at how this obnoxious character buys the farm.

"Bobby Z" is complicated enough to be interesting, but it remains altogether a little too smug to be attain the greatness of something like "True Romance." Happily, Walker doesn't play a dual role. Meantime, Walker delivers a strong, charismatic performance as the eponymous character. He plays it free, loose, and easy. 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."

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Herzfeld tries another Tarantino style movie

Author: Matt Kracht ( from New York
8 March 2013

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 clichéd 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.

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18 out of 32 people found the following review useful:


Author: legendaryunderdog from United States
5 May 2008

I rented this movie thinking, "Hey, Paul Walker wasn't too bad in the fast and furious films and Laurence Fishburne is just awesome so why not get it?" Well friends, looks can and are deceiving, and I learned the hard way last evening watching this film. The director is trying so bad to keep you involved (or wanting to be involved) and for me it wasn't happening. The whole 'syking everyone out to think I'm Bobby Z' script work got old really quick, Paul Walker's acting was sub par (I haven't seen a lot of his work but I've been told by many that he's not that great of an actor). I cannot imagine what went through Laurence Fishburne's head when choosing to be in this film, he has done better, WAY better! There are way too many close up shots of Paul Walker (for absolutely no other reason than to show off his "Good Looks" and play some really lame music along with it). There is always some hot girl and a kid involved that need their lives saved, if you've seen it once, you've seen it a hundred times (just this time with Paul Walker). I suggest this film to people who only like Paul Walker and his close ups and not action flicks, because thats about all you get. Walker couldn't portray a criminal to save his life! Sorry Paul Walker fans, your boy let me down.

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19 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Straight to Video

Author: netzwelter from Germany
30 April 2007

There is nothing much to be too excited of at this movie, but still entertaining. I wonder why it made its way to the silver screen because it's not better than dozens of Straight to Video productions. Storywise, you will get nothing more than you'd also get if you rent a Jean-Claude Van Damme Film. Same goes for "character development". There are some nice shootouts and fights, but nothing remarkable. It sometimes feels as if you were watching a film from the seventies: there is nothing really stylish or spectacular in the action scenes. Although it feels good to see movie that doesn't use the much common and enough-seen style of today's action flicks, the way this film shows the action seems out-dated. Also the film's pace should be higher, again it feels 70s-ish. As usual these days, there are some nice twists and turns in the story. Paul Walker does a decent job, but not as convincing as in "Running Scared". Laurence Fishburne he fails to put any life in his bad guy role. I am not impressed of Olivia Wilde in the leading female role. At least she tries hard to be more than decorative. 5/10

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beat by a loser.

Author: lastliberal from United States
8 November 2009

To see Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) from House makes the movie a "must-see" all by itself. But there is much more promise in this film with action star Paul Walker, and the ever popular Laurence Fishburne.

Walker is playing this drug dealer and is trying to get Fishburne's partner back. You know, what can go wrong, will go wrong. Now, he is on his own.

The name of the game here is action. From the first scene, we see Tim/Bobby (Walker) getting in trouble, and it never stops. After an exciting horse/motorcycle chase, he takes off with his (Bobby's) son. He has the feds, the drug lords, and a biker gang after him. Not a good bet to survive, but he is an ex-Marine. Never bet against the Marines.

Don't expect anything more than fast action and you will not be disappointed.

Joaquim de Almeida, who you should remember as Bucho in Desperado, is the bad guy here.

I can forgive anything director John Herzfeld does in this film as I am forever grateful for his introduction of the hot Charlize Theron in 2 Days in the Valley.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The double life of Bobby Z

Author: jotix100 from New York
6 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The mere idea of having a man serving time to impersonate a notorious drug dealer who is in Thailand running away from justice is preposterous, to put it mildly! How do the creators of "The Death and Life and Bobby Z" ever thought, for reality sake, to be able to even think that by sending the former marine, now a con man, into the lion's den without at one point being discovered as a fake? The whole thing is the idea of a corrupt law enforcement officer who thinks he will use the former marine to get at the kingpin of the drug empire who supplied the original Bobby Z with his merchandise.

The movie is not totally horrible, as action films go. The main problem is the many plot holes in the narrative that the creators probably didn't count on, or thought their viewers wouldn't figure out how the whole mess was going to turn out. John Herzfeld directed the screen play by Bob Krakower and Allan Lawrence. The credibility gap is huge when the people involved asks us to accept things that don't make too much sense.

If you can buy the fact that Elizabeth would not know who the impostor was right away, then there is no problem enjoying this film that from all indication went straight to video.

Paul Walker is the action hero. The problem with his acting that he doesn't show any credible emotion. An uncredited Bruce Dern is the narrator that gives us an account of Bobby Z's accomplishments in that la-la land of Southern California. Joaquim de Almeida plays another one of his bad guys. Laurence Fishburne has nothing to play with. Gorgeous Olivia Wilde appears as Elizabeth, Bobby Z's former girlfriend. Keith Carradine has a small part.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Couldn't stop watching!

Author: wamwatcher from United States
5 September 2010

I was toggling back & forth between the Wisconsin Badgers Football season opener & this movie on DVR AND IT WAS COMPELLING ENOUGH that for awhile I forgot to flip back to the game!!! So obviously I have no idea why this audience-tested badly or why people think Paul Walker can't act. Plus he's got a great cast to back him up...

The mystery of why this was going down hooked me early & I cared about what happened to these people (at least the good guys) For the girl-watchers out there ~ Olivia Wild is jaw-droppingly GORGEOUS!! I Can't believe I've seen movies with her in them before & not noticed!!! Definitely worth the rental price if you have to go that route.

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