Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now ... See full summary »
1989. The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and the world is about to be made safe for the new world order. But outside of Stuttgart, West Germany, at Theodore Roosevelt Army Base, Specialist Ray Elwood of the 317th Supply Battalion is about to find his own cold war turn white hot. Elwood's a lovable rogue, a conscript who's managed to turn his military servitude into a blossoming network of black market deals, more out of boredom than ambition. Officially, there's his day job as battalion secretary to the inept but caring Commander Wallace Berman. On the side, there's everything from selling the locals stolen Mop'N'Glo to cooking heroin for the base's ruthless head of Military Police, Sgt. Saad. When a new top sergeant arrives, with the avowed intention of cleaning the base up, Elwood thinks the new blood is nothing he can't handle, especially after he lays eyes on the top's daughter, rebellious Robyn. But that was before he figured in the $5 million in stolen arms that just landed on ... Written by
During the opening scene, Elwood's Mercedes carries a Karlsruhe temporary plate (KA-04xxxx) of the new European model - however, these plates weren't in use before 1995. See more »
[At the Civil War-themed officers' party, Elwood and Stoney are serving drinks, dressed as Confederate soldiers. Stoney is black so this is a bit incongruous]
Jesus Christ, look how they got you dressed up. Ain't you sick of being fucked by a white man?
You and me can step outside right now.
Whoa. You think you can take me?
Yeah, maybe. Straight up, hand-to-hand, you got a shot. Maybe. But maybe I wear a blade. Maybe I got a .45 cocked and locked to shove up your...
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Ich Bin Ein Arschloch
Music by Andreas Schmidt, Marc Zimmerman, Rudi Naomi, Lyrics by Andreas Schmidt
Published by Songs United Publishing/Fab Squad Publishing, Edition El Cheapo Grande (p) 2000 Vielklang Musicproduktion GmbH
Performed by Prollhead
From the album "Neue Alte" released on Dröönland Productions EFA 07906-2 See more »
Well, in reality, I suspect the story behind Buffalo Soldiers has picked up a bit of embellishment along the way from modern folklore to big screen, but that's hardly surprising. What is surprising is that such a basic story can be turned into such a funny film. It's not so much ha-ha funny as it is just ironic funny. Indeed, the story about one woman screaming protests about the so-called anti-American sentiment of the film and flinging a bottle at the screen tells me that some people still expect their comedy to be spoonfed to them.
If anything, this film reads like a celebration of the things that the citizens of Western societies take for granted. With soldiers situated far from home, and having nothing better to do than play games of indoor gridiron at times, it's a small wonder that soldiers turn to drug abuse or other such illegal activity in order to stave off boredom. Stir craziness is a problem in any army during peacetime, although one can't help but wonder if we're not being shown a rather extreme example here.
The basis of this black comedy is in the solid performances of the principal cast. Joaquin Phoenix shows once again that he has a great talent, while Ed Harris and Scott Glenn do an admirable job of playing the straight arrows. But it is another moderated little-girl-lost type of performance from the ever-wonderful Anna Paquin that at least kept this viewer engaged. This woman could make a ninety minute film in which she reads the telephone book, and I'd probably enjoy it.
The corruption shown in this film is hardly surprising, given how little soldiers seem to be paid in comparison to the stress they endure. If there is indeed any truth to the depicitions of drug abuse, then it's not surprising anymore that employers are currently employing random drug testing. Dr. Strangelove couldn't get more spot-on about how the human element of the military is generally its undoing. After one memorable sequence involving drugged tank drivers, I'll never be able to catch sight of an army vehicle without getting the urge to run away, screaming.
I gave Buffalo Soldiers an eight out of ten. Under normal circumstances, I would have given it a seven, but it has Anna Paquin in it, and any film with Anna Paquin in it can earn a bonus point. If you like your comedy without obvious prompts of when you're meant to laugh, then you can't go wrong with Buffalo Soldiers.
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