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Buffalo Soldiers

Steal all that you can steal. A story so outrageous you couldn't make it up  

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Buffalo Soldiers

Set in 1989 West Germany around the time that the Berlin Wall fell, Buffalo Soldiers is a black comedy detailing the exploits of Specialist Ray Elwood (Phoenix). Elwood is a conscript in the US army who's official job on the Theodore Roosevelt Army Base is battalion secretary to the incompetant Commander Wallace Berman (Harris). Through this position Elwood is able to run his own black market supplying everything from Mop'N'Glo stolen from supplies for the locals to cooking heroin for the sadistic head of Military Police Sgt. Saad. Elwood's money making schemes are put in jeopardy by the arrival of a new top sergeant (Glenn) who intends to clean up the base. Matters are further complicated by Elwood's involvement with the sergeant's rebellious daughter (Paquin). That's just the start, then things really start to get intersting...

Buffalo Soldiers was finally released in the summer of 2003 after being delayed following September 11th, the Afghan war and the Iraq conflict. It was deemed by the distributors that a film that showed the US army in a negative light should not be released while the army was involved in conflict. It is a shame that we had to wait as long as we did for Buffalo Soldiers. Above any of the blockbusters this was the most enjoyable film of the summer. Phoenix is superb as the lovable rogue Elwood, a kind of dark 'Del Boy'. He is ably supported by Harris who plays the inept base commander in a way that commands the audience's sympathy. The director never shies away from portraying the harsher side of life but you will laugh at bodies being thrown out of windows and a wonderfully surreal tank sequence.

If you are the sort of person that is fed up with the US movie industry constantly portraying its military as hereos then this film is the perfect antidote. I guarantee you will come out of this film having laughed out loud several times (something many a comedy film fails upon). If you enjoy poking fun at the USA then this is the film for you.... if not then go see it anyway, you'll still enjoy it.

Chris Munden

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)