Strays, Vin Diesel’s 1997 debut as writer-director, finds the future xXx star with a unique problem. As semi-reformed tough guy Rick, Diesel just wants to have a meaningful relationship, but all of the ladies just want to have sex with him. What is a former drug dealer to do?

Wish fulfillment writing aside, this Sundance-worthy drama does showcase Diesel’s ability to capture the world of an aimless slacker who is trying to overcome his past in the hopes of experiencing something real. Granted, the characters can ring a bit hollow or too convenient, but they feel real, especially once Rick’s violent past starts to creep back into his speech.

As a DVD, the making-of and preview features are just enough to warrant a Special Features section. Still, if you are a Vin Diesel fan or just want to see Diesel in a non-action role, Strays is a compelling (if flawed) drama.

Grade: B-

Strays is currently available.