I rarely review films with an R rating, but I sometimes make an exception. Though Bobby Z is not an award-winning film by any means, it is a very watchable one. Yes, it’s violent. It starts out with men in prison. One is a three-time loser by the name of Tim Kearney (Paul Walker). Kearney is shown to be headstrong and violent. From juvie he’s handed over to the Marines where he earns a Navy Cross followed by a dishonorable discharge for slugging an Iraqi colonel. After that it’s more violence in the civilian world, until he goes down for the third time, meaning life imprisonment. While in prison, he makes it on his own for a time just by shear chutzpah against Mad Dog, (Chuck Lidell) a big crazy biker who is in for murder.and in for Kearney. When Kearney finally takes him down, a betting man wouldn’t take odds on his life expectancy.
That’s when federal agent Tad Gruz (Lawrence Fishburne) offers Kearney a way out . Kearney is a ringer for legendary marijuana mogul, Bobby Z, a man of almost mythical proportions in his Gold Coast, hedonistic world. A rival drug lord in Mexico has offered the exchange of Agent Gruz’s captured partner for Bobby Z. The problem is, Gruz says, the real Bobby Z is dead. They need to bring in a ringer, Kearney, in exchange for his partner. If Tim survives, he is free to go.
Of course the deal goes wrong, and Kearney’s speed and agility are the only things that save him. He is mistaken for Bobby Z by the drug lord’s people and taken to their sprawling hacienda in the middle of the desert. There Tim is wined and dined and treated like the legend that is Bobby Z. There he sees Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde), one of the women whose names and pictures he was given by Gruz. She is sitting by the huge crowded pool watching over an 11-year-old boy called Kit (J.R. Villarreal)
Nearby, a man and woman are sporting in a shallow side pool, and the man’s trash talk is apparently loud and obnoxious. Elizabeth is apparently asking the man to cease and desist for the sake of the young boy, and the man gets verbally abusive. Tim walks away from the group he’s with and heads for the small pool to shut the man down. Kearney does it without breaking a sweat and the boy’s face reflects more than a little hero-worship. It turns out Kit is Bobby Z’s son, and when Kearney (as Bobby) has to run again — on horseback through the desert this time — the father-hungry boy begs to go with him.
Leaving a trail of broken bad guys in his wake after a chase through the badlands — which leaves the minions wondering how a California beach bum knows so much about the desert — Kearney finds himself alone with the boy. The bonding of “father” and son starts off a little shaky . Kearney seems to understand and relate to the boy’s need for a father, but he doesn’t know a thing about children. They are on foot in a big desert and Kearney hasn’t a clue what their next move should be. So he suggests a game.
“Do you know what a Marine is?” he asks.
“Some kind of soldier,” says Kit.
“No, a Marine is a badass. You wanta play that game?
“Navy Seals are tougher.”
As this unlikely duo is now also hunted by Mad Dog’s biker brother, with a not-so-shadowy but ruthless figure in the background, there is little pause in the action. The fight sequences are very good. Kearney is tall, but not big, and he goes up against some snarling bad muscle. So he has to use moves that will give him an edge.
I liked the bonding of this man who never really had a father, with a boy who desperately needs one. Kit asks Kearney/Bobby to teach him a self-defense move, which he does. Kit is also terrified that his “dad” is going to ditch him. But this time, Kit sticks like glue. He is not losing him again. After almost losing it all, Tim Kearney discovers what was really missing in his life all along. To fill that lifelong emptiness, he puts all his skills to work to save what is now good in his life, and he won’t let anyone stand in his way.
“Bobby Z” is a 2007 film that kind of washed out. But I found it an entertaining film for adults. It has a lot of restraint when it comes to the R rating. Violence it had in spades, but not so graphic as other movies that made it big. And for those who like good fight scenes with some great moves, you’ll get them. Drug use, as in smoking pot, abounded because of the setting. There was some language and brief nudity — also restrained. More so than some TV shows.
Also a shout-out for Lawrence Fishburne, who played his unexpected role very well, and the spitting tough Keith Carradine, the laid-back cowboy turned drug lord minion .You should also recognize the narrator at the beginning and end of the movie. Bruce Dern plays an aged beach bum gone to seed and fully gone to “pot”, who idolizes Bobby Z.
So now you have enough information that you can make your own choice whether to view or not to view without too too much given away. Oh, and by the way, the background songs were really good, too. We liked the whole movie.
I didn’t realize Paul Walker was the star in “Fast and Furious” who was killed in a fast car accident.