Writer: Gregor Jordan, Eric Weiss, Nora Maccoby (Screenplay) Robert O’Connor (Book)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Anna Paquin, Elizabeth McGovern, Michael Pena, Leon, Gabriel Mann
Plot: A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Forgettable ‘Comedy’ Drama
Story: Buffalo Soldiers starts by introducing Ray Elwood (Phoenix) who is having a problem with his dreaming of falling, he is part of a military base in Germany. Cue the introduction of the macho men all trying to one up each other before an accidentally death of one of the soldiers. Ray secretly sales whatever he can on the black market and is the go to guy for both the locals and the soldiers.
When the autopsy comes back on the soldier’s death Colonel Berman (Harris) starts to panic about the idea of drugs on the base, this will put a spanner in the works for Ray’s business. When a chance shipment of arms comes into Ray’s hand he decides to enter into the arms race with the brand new weapons. The make matters worse for Ray a new Sergeant Lee (Glenn) decides to try and clean up the barracks starting with trying to get to the bottom of all of Ray’s plans. Ray deciding to come back in his own way by dating his daughter Robyn (Paquin) ends up stuck in battle of one up man ship while avoiding conflict with a rival dealer on the base.
Buffalo Soldiers really ends up falling into a lot of things I hate about films, first we have the excessive drug use which you all know I really hate in film. I do understand that it is important to the storyline but I would like to think soldiers were doing more than just making drugs or getting stoned. I did like the idea of the wheeler and dealer through the army but the film never settles on which genre it wants to be or which battle is the most important. It all comes off very bland and forgettable once it is all finished. (3/10)
Joaquin Phoenix: Ray Elwood is the wheeler and dealer on the base, he can get his hands on anything and makes sure he can sale it on for a profit. The men all turn to him for their stuff but when a strict Sergeant turns up on the base his worlds starts changing leaving him battling to stay in control. Joaquin shows why he was the lead actor with a strong performance that doesn’t have the cocky level I feel it needed but otherwise looked confident through every scene. (7/10)
Ed Harris: Colonel Berman is the laid back Colonel looking towards his retirement who is also good friends with Ray even if he doesn’t know what he is doing on the base. Ed does a good job but doesn’t get enough screen time for my likely. (6/10)
Scott Glenn: Sergeant Lee is the strict new man on the base who targets Ray and his man before things start getting personally when Ray starts dating his daughter. Scott starts strong but ends up fizzling out to a generic strict father figure. (5/10)
Anna Paquin: Robyn Lee is the daughter that catches the eye of Ray before they get involved in a relationship against her father’s will. Anna shows she was coming into her own during the time of release with this role. (6/10)
Support Cast: Buffalo Soldiers has a big supporting cast that includes the fellow soldiers who both work with and against Ray.
Director Review: Gregor Jordan – Gregor gives us an average film that doesn’t have any truly memorable scenes but doesn’t completely go down as bad. (5/10)
Comedy: Buffalo Soldiers doesn’t really have too many funny moments the high tank drivers was the highlight for me. (3/10)
Crime: Buffalo Soldiers does put the characters into an underworld of crime throughout. (5/10)
Thriller: Buffalo Soldiers doesn’t manage to pull us in enough to make us truly care what happens to all the characters. (4/10)
Settings: Buffalo Soldiers creates authentic settings for the time period being used. (7/10)
Suggestion: Buffalo Soldiers is a late night television job, I couldn’t recommend this to anyone to watch fresh. (Late Night TV)
Best Part: High tank drivers.
Worst Part: Not enough happens.
Funniest Scene: High tank drivers.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $15 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
Tagline: War is hell… but peace is f*#!%!! boring.
Trivia: Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on 9 September 2001. The events that happened two days later effectively killed the film’s chances of distribution within the United States.
Overall: Very average at best.