The Death and Life of Bobby Z

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The Death and Life of Bobby Z
Bobby Z Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Herzfeld
Produced by Brandon Birtell
Matt Luber
Keith Samples
Larry Schapiro
Peter Schlessel
Paul Walker
Screenplay by Bob Krakower
Allen Lawrence
Based on The Death and Life of Bobby Z
by Don Winslow
Starring Paul Walker
Laurence Fishburne
Olivia Wilde
Jason Lewis
Joaquim de Almeida
J.R. Villarreal
Jason Flemyng
Music by Tim Jones
Edited by Bruce Cannon
Alain Jakubowicz
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Millennium Films
Release date
May 3, 2007 (2007-05-03)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $912,754[1]

The Death and Life of Bobby Z, also known as Bobby Z and Let's Kill Bobby Z, is a 2007 American/German action film, directed by John Herzfeld, and starring Paul Walker, Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Wilde and Joaquim de Almeida. The film received an R rating by the MPAA for violence, some drug use, language and brief nudity. Don Winslow, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, acknowledged that the screen adaption was not successful.[2]


Don Huertero (Joaquim de Almeida) is a Mexican drug lord. His daughter committed suicide because a drug dealer known as Bobby Z broke her heart. Consequently, Don Huertero is out for vengeance.

In trepidation Bobby Z seeks shelter in an American embassy. From there he is handed over to federal agent Tad Gruzsa (Laurence Fishburne).

In order to get hold of Bobby Z after all, Don Huertero takes a colleague of Tad Gruzsa as hostage and proposes an exchange.

Bobby Z knows Don Huertero won't rest until he believes him dead. Being worried sick, he bribes Tad Gruzsa. Now Tad Gruzsa conceives a plan to deceive Don Huertero. He wants to make Don Huertero believe Bobby Z was dead without harming the real Bobby Z.

When the exchange is supposed to take place, Tad Gruzsa replaces Bobby Z. In his stead the clueless doppelgänger Tim Kearney (Paul Walker) crosses the border. During the exchange Tad Gruzsa incites a gunfight and tries to shoot the doppelgänger dead.

Even so, Tim Kearney scarcely survives. But Tad Gruzsa keeps on trying to kill him. But he fails time after time. Despite all his efforts it is the real Bobby Z who is taken down. Tim Kearney on the other hand finds love (Elizabeth, played by Olivia Wilde as a kind of it girl).


The films starts by introducing "the legend of Bobby Z", an immensely successful and famous marijuana trafficker, yacht owner and surfer, described ecstatically as an entity of almost mythical proportions by an old man, representing the contemporary folklore of the Gold Coast of Baja California.

The film then goes on to describe the film's hero Tim Kearney, played by male leading actor Paul Walker. Exposition flashbacks and narrative by the relatively hostile FBI agents serve to portray Kearney as a somewhat reckless and uncontrollable, yet also likeable and brave character, who ends up in prison because of his former qualities.

When Kearney accepts Tad Gruzsa's offer, the audience doesn't know anything more than he does. Thus the film continues, following Tim Kearny as he successively collects information. The audience is never ahead of him. This and the fact that a great deal of the story has already happened before the hero gets involved, require flashbacks galore. As a result, the structure is highly interlaced.

The film ends with a few concluding remarks by the same old man of the Gold Coast that appeared in the introduction.



The film is based on a 1997 novel of the same name by Don Winslow.[3] The novel was positively reviewed by several newspapers.[4][5][6][7]


The Death and Life of Bobby Z holds a 40% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 5 counted reviews as of 8 July 2010.[8] In an interview to the Portuguese channel SIC, Paul Walker called it a "bad movie".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Death and Life of Bobby Z at". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-12-22 
  2. ^ 'In All Candor: Don Winslow on Savages, The Kings of Cool and Satori';CraveOnline, 5 July 2012
  3. ^ Winslow, Don (1997). The death and life of Bobby Z (1st ed.). New York: Knopf. pp. 259 p. ; 24 cm. ISBN 0-679-45429-2. LCCN 96052202. OCLC 36060008. 
  4. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (May 25, 1997). "Crime (reviews of several novels, including The Death and Life of Bobby Z)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Charles (August 5, 1997). "The Death and Life of Bobby Z". Salon. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  6. ^ Chollet, Laurence (April 27, 1997). "Author Changes Tracks". The Record (Bergen County, NJ). Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  7. ^ Reed, Ronald (May 11, 1997). "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad chase. Review of The Death and Life of Bobby Z". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 6. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  8. ^ "The Death and Life of Bobby Z on Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 

External links[edit]