"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.

“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.

Bobby Z

Direct-to-video

Production

A Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release of a Millennium Films presentation of an Eclectic Pictures production in association with Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG IV and Samdel Pictures. Produced by Heidi Jo Markel, Brandon Birtell, Keith Samples, Matt Luber, Peter Schlessel. Executive producers, Manfred Heid, Gerd Koechlin, Josef Lautenschlager, Andreas Thiesmeyer, Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Mark Handel. Co-producers, Omar Veytia, Stan Erdreich. Directed by John Herzfeld. Screenplay, Bob Krakower, Allen Lawrence, based on the novel "The Death and Life of Bobby Z" by Don Winslow.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color), Matthew Moriarty; editors, Bruce Cannon, Alain Jakubowicz; music, Tim Jones. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Sept. 22, 2007. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Paul Walker, Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Wilde, Jason Flemyng, Keith Carradine, Joaquim de Almeida, J.R. Villarreal.

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