Strays - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Strays Reviews

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January 21, 2016
Il y a quelques gros défauts dans Strays mais l'ensemble de cette comédie romantique réalisée, écrite et interprétée par un jeune Vin Diesel est franchement sincère et touchante, tant le futur action hero (qui semble tout de même s'aimer énormément tant il est omniprésent et filmé à son avantage tout du long) se donne à fond, dans un rôle qui ne doit pas être si loin que ça de sa vie. On retrouve aussi un jeune Mike Epps dans le rôle d'un de ses amis, qui est tout aussi bon. Strays regorge de petits bijoux comme cette scène où Vin Diesel chante Le Magicien d'Oz à son first date avant d'exploser en rage devant trois lascars qui sifflent sa copine. Touchant et souvent drôle, un poil longuette dans sa première partie, Strays est un bien bon film.
½ January 25, 2014
Review:
Although the movie seems cheap and it doesn't really start off that well, it does end up with a moral to the story and it's good to see Vin Diesel really act. We are all used to seeing Diesel play the tough guy in his big budget movies, but in this film he shows that he has a heart and that bullets can't always bounce off of his body. All of the cast look like there on steroids, except for Mike Epps, and it has a deep undertone of a band of brothers who grow up doing everything together. Personally, I hated the beginning, but when the storyline kicks in its pretty average. If you keep in mind that this was made with a very low budget, totally by Vin Diesel, it is well put together but it's not a classic like earlier Scorsese movies, which it did remind me of. Average!

Round-Up:
After watching Riddick last week, it's amazing to see how far Diesel has come. It's a shame that Diesel doesn't show his acting skills more in his movies because he actually can act. At this point, we all know what to expect from his films. They all seem to be big budget action movies which shows that he has become type casted. Maybe he needs to go back to the drawing board to show that he doesn't have to show his muscles and kick ass in all of his films. As for the other cast, you can tell that this is the first time that they have been in front of a camera, but the chemistry between the cast seemed very real.

I recommend this movie to people who want to see an early Vin Diesel trying to get out of the hood and falling in love. 3/10
August 2, 2013
Strays (Vin Diesel, 1997)

I have a strong suspicion, though I've never explicitly read this, that Strays was originally a short script, like Diesel's excellent first effort, Multi-Facial, that he extended to feature-length. It certainly feels that way while watching it, and given that Diesel hasn't picked up a camera in the intervening sixteen years-despite having prepared another script with the intention of directing it himself while Strays was in production-I think he may have learned some valuable lessons from that process, which is always fraught with peril for an inexperienced screenwriter.

Plot: Rick (Diesel) is a layabout, a sometime drug dealer who has seen the error of his previous womanizing, hedonistic ways and is trying to straighten himself out while still dealing the occasional quarter of pot and still hanging out with the same band of stoners and no-goodniks from the bad old days: Freddie (Bomb the System's Joey Dedio), Mike (the screen debut of Next Friday's Mike Epps), and Tony (F. Valentino Morales, a partner of Diesel's from Multi-Facial all the way up through 2005's The Pacifier), among others. He's sick of the cruising scene, sick of the people he hangs out with, sick of life in general until Heather (The Night We Never Met's Suzanne Lanza in her final big-screen appearance, as of this writing), a small-town Girl Next Door(TM), moves into the brownstone next door. Rick and Heather hit it off after being introduced at a neighborhood party, but Rick's lifestyle, and the violence he is forced to display because of it, alienate her just as much as his softer side attracts.

The good parts about this movie mirror the good parts of Multi-Facial; there's even that climactic monologue, though the piece here is far more pedestrian than the "A Raisin in the Sun" monologue Diesel delivers at the end of that film. And for me, that's ultimately why Strays falls flat; Diesel isn't really trying to do anything new here. It all still works, it's just working in identical ways, and it's stretched out to over four times the length. Some of the filler is good stuff; a subplot featuring Tony was lifted pretty much verbatim from Larry Clark's Kids, but it works (and honestly, it works a helluva lot better here than it did in that mess of a movie), and most of the scenes where Rick and the gang are just hanging out talking in the basketball court are good stuff; Diesel knows how to write dialogue, which may come as a surprise to those who only know him as a brainless-action-movie star. On the other hand, the rest of the filler doesn't work nearly as well-including the main romance plot. There's way too much expository stuff, people saying things that sound like they're coming out of psych 101 textbooks rather than off the tops of heads. Heather's conversation on the rooftop with the guy who introduced them? Good pebbles, that scene was a bust. (It didn't help that the male character there, whose name I have completely forgotten despite watching the movie less than twelve hours ago, is so flamboyantly gay as to be the same kind of brainless stereotype Diesel has, ironically, found himself shoehorned into since about xXx.) I think I actually cringed a couple of times while watching it. It's hard to believe that the same guy who penned the scenes about Ferdinand, the Munro Leaf kidlit classic about a bull who just wants to be loved, wrote that rooftop dialogue. (Not that the Ferdinand bits are any less heavy-handed, but at least they work within the context of the film in a way that scene never could.)

Strays is a movie that wants to be so much more than it turned out to be. And to be fair, as much of a fan of Multi-Facial as I am, I wanted it to be that much more as well. So maybe I'm a touch more disappointed than the average film viewer who comes into this knowing the softer, earlier side of Vin Diesel will be. (The reaction on the IMDB boards from those who only know him as an action star, on the other hand, is uniformly rotten, so be warned.) I can't tell you not to see it; if you're a Vin Diesel fan (or a Mike Epps fan; his career exploded not long after this in exactly the same way Diesel's did), of course you're going to hunt it down, and you should. But gird your loins. **
April 1, 2013
Diesel's best work, and I am by no means a fan.
January 22, 2013
There comes a movie about people talking that I like. This is that kind of movie. A really sweet, soft, touching film from Riddick of all people. Absolutely NO COMMERCIAL VALUE WHATSOEVER! This is a total art house flick, but one I liked... and I think my mother would too. I was surprised to see this was Mike Epps's first film.
May 13, 2012
Not a very good movie. While interesting to see Vin Diesel not in an action role as per usual i think i'd still rather see him in one. Drama writting and acting isn't his forte
April 19, 2012
I dont care to watch.
April 17, 2012
Gotta find this one too!!
April 16, 2012
Anything with vin diesel is good he is so hot
½ April 5, 2012
I couldn't finish this. It was like a combination of kids and Swingers done poorly.
February 9, 2012
it was a great and engrossing film for the whole way through. Vin Diesel did well as far as the performance goes, and all of the cast well picked. Is the story original maybe not so much, was it mind blowing definitely not, but its engrossing for 98% of the film. The biggest flaws i have with this film is truthfully the ending is horrible normal only certain films can just end and it be satisfying and leaves the audience with an understanding of what it is that supposedly happens for the films main character or relationship or w.e. the case this film unfortunately didn't have that effect if it anything it completely left wondering well what happens to Rick and Heather? It was poor judgement on Diesels part there. Now another problem i have with this film is the the fact that were is alot of poor camera work done here, i mean there are certain scenes where the actors cant be seen, or only part of their body is in the shot or their head is cut off(i find that to be the most annoying) and because of that i had a hard time being like wow this wasn't given the time and attention that what wouldve been a very solid film deserves. Essentially for the character development and focus of the story it is ok and solid, unfortunately so much is unanswered and with terrible camera work this film falls short of being great to just an ok time killer.
November 16, 2011
i know three stars is generous but, the movie seemed pretty realistic mostly. i didn't care for the seemingly incomplete ending.
November 12, 2011
Hmmm....not much to say about this movie it wasnt that great. I see what he was going for, and there is romance. He's really trying to change, but right when the movie gets good it ends!
Matthew Roe
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2011
This film is interesting to say the least. I had never known Vin Diesel had started off as a director as well, and actually, I can say that he could really succeed if he buckled down. "Strays" is a good and a bad film at the same time, mimicking a similar style of an infamous early 90s film "Kids", yet it is not as effective as Larry Clark's Magnum Opus. Diesel plays his character well enough, though he really doesn't have much to emote in the first two acts of the film, the third portion is really what brings the whole production home, it is where the best writing, best acting, and most effective open-ened catharsis occurs that actually make the whole first hour worth while. The actors could have been a bit better, though they visually fit their parts, and the camera work could have been much better, especially because of the tight, uncomfortable framing of shots that really didn't need to be so pushed in. Entertaining, the good scenes outweigh the bad, not by much, but just enough. Slow moving but the pacing is correct for this type of film. If more effort was put into the direction, I think this really could have been a realistic and raw piece, more than just it's last part.
½ September 2, 2011
Strays is brutally honest and... beautifully executed. It uses harsh words and harsher actions to portray a lifestyle that is real and not sugar coated for the audience.
May 28, 2011
Vin Diesel's directing debut. Tough guy tired of a life of sex and drugs. Looks to find something real. But mommy issues are holding him back. Don't expect much of this film.
½ May 8, 2011
An excellent independent film, by Vin Diesel. Well written. Vin Diesel's first and one of his greatest performance's. Bro-vow Vin, bro-vow.
Can't wait to work with you one day.
May 3, 2011
great movie but the ending is a bit lame this movie needs a continue
January 30, 2011
This film is interesting to say the least. I had never known Vin Diesel had started off as a director as well, and actually, I can say that he could really succeed if he buckled down. "Strays" is a good and a bad film at the same time, mimicking a similar style of an infamous early 90s film "Kids", yet it is not as effective as Larry Clark's Magnum Opus. Diesel plays his character well enough, though he really doesn't have much to emote in the first two acts of the film, the third portion is really what brings the whole production home, it is where the best writing, best acting, and most effective open-ened catharsis occurs that actually make the whole first hour worth while. The actors could have been a bit better, though they visually fit their parts, and the camera work could have been much better, especially because of the tight, uncomfortable framing of shots that really didn't need to be so pushed in. Entertaining, the good scenes outweigh the bad, not by much, but just enough. Slow moving but the pacing is correct for this type of film. If more effort was put into the direction, I think this really could have been a realistic and raw piece, more than just it's last part.
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