“Bobby Z” may have been greenlit as a theatrical feature, but it has detoured onto the direct-to-video route. And rightly so: Even with the marquee allure of Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne, this generic actioner offers little to set it apart from similar efforts already gathering dust on vidstore shelves. Helmer John Herzfeld (“15 Minutes,” “2 Days in the Valley”) and his cast go through the motions, but the pic overall has the feel of something tossed off to pass time and pay bills between more prestigious gigs.
Walker plays Tim Kearney, a three-time loser who’s recruited by a cowboyish DEA agent (Fishburne) to pose as the title character, a notorious marijuana dealer with ties to a Mexican druglord (Joaquim de Almeida). Even before he gets South of the border, however, Kearney is betrayed, and must fend for himself with a little help from Bobby Z’s ex-girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) and young son (J.R. Villarreal). A couple of violent confrontations are effectively staged, but that’s not quite enough. As a villainous henchman, Keith Carradine gets the pic’s biggest laugh while noticing, too late, that he has inadvertently triggered a booby trap.