User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36
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  1. matta.
    Sep 28, 2005
    6
    Dramatically, it doesn't work. On the comedy side of things, it was pretty freaking genius. A solid outing for Joaquin Phoenix.
  2. JerryH.
    Jul 24, 2003
    8
    A hilarious good time for a movie about heroin and arms dealing in the army. The director is in full control -- great performance by Phoenix, Ed Harris, and Scott Glenn, great camera work, killer soundtrack (David Holmes and hits from the 80s) and a deft balance of humor and menace. Check this film out. It should be a hit.
  3. ClaireM.
    Jul 23, 2003
    9
    It's too bad that most of the press about this film has focused on the controversy and delays -- a focus which has tended to overshadow the fact that it's simply an extremely polished and entertaining film. It's dark, funny, and wickedly cynical. Joaquin Phoenix is great, and the movie is quite memorable. It'll be interesting to see if Jordan's next movie, NED It's too bad that most of the press about this film has focused on the controversy and delays -- a focus which has tended to overshadow the fact that it's simply an extremely polished and entertaining film. It's dark, funny, and wickedly cynical. Joaquin Phoenix is great, and the movie is quite memorable. It'll be interesting to see if Jordan's next movie, NED KELLY, is as excellent as this one. Expand
  4. NickK.
    Aug 9, 2003
    8
    Amazing that this ever got released. Not as dark as the book but still with enough hard-edges to satisfy. And more humour that twenty other Hollywood produkts. It may not play well in these times of phony patriotism but beongs with M*A*S*H and Catch-22. Almost singularly negative among modern films against the military-industrial complex of modern day america.
  5. KenG.
    Jan 27, 2004
    8
    Mistakenly billed as a comedy, this darkly sardonic look at U.S. army life on a German base in peacetime shows the aftermath of soldiers geared for war without a war...and it isn't pretty. Joaquin Phoenix, in a winning performance, lets the viewer know from the beginning what this army is comprised of: high school dropouts and criminals.
  6. BombshellNukealot
    Oct 13, 2005
    10
    People don't generally seem to like this movie because it's raw and straightforward - that's war for you...however it has has some overacting and unnecessary 'coolness' added. All things considered this was a really enjoyable experience and a movie that sticks to your mind.
  7. BillT.
    Nov 10, 2003
    0
    Just wondering how many of the people who gave glowing reviews to "Buffalo Soldiers" have ever served in the United States Army. I can answer that. None. The people who made this film and 99 percent of those who reviewed it know squat about the United States Army. I served from the 1960's to the 1990's, with four assignments in West Germany totaling ten years. The middle part of Just wondering how many of the people who gave glowing reviews to "Buffalo Soldiers" have ever served in the United States Army. I can answer that. None. The people who made this film and 99 percent of those who reviewed it know squat about the United States Army. I served from the 1960's to the 1990's, with four assignments in West Germany totaling ten years. The middle part of my last assignment to West Germany was in 1989, the year this unfortunate film is supposed to take place. I can tell you for a fact that the average American soldier at that time was honest, drug-free, and much more educated than any film critic. We did not sit around the barracks getting stoned. We worked hard, both in garrison and in frequent field training exercises sometimes lasting months. I was proud to lead and train these fine young Americans. To list everything that is historically and technically wrong about this film would take pages upon pages. The most glaring visual error is the absence of female soldiers. For many years female soldiers have proudly served in the United States Army in large numbers, doing many different jobs. In a combat service support unit such as that so poorly depicted by the makers of this film, female soldiers would be very much in evidence. This film was produced by a German who hates Americans. I can't figure why he would hate Americans, since it was the large American presence in West Germany that kept the Warsaw Pact forces at bay for fifty years until the end of the Cold War. It sure wasn't the "mighty" West German army keeping his butt safe. The West German army was a joke, and the reunified German army is probably a bigger joke. The film was directed by an Australian whose biggest claim to military knowledge is that his father served in the Royal Australian Air Force. The writers based their screenplay on a novel that has about as much truth as a deposition by Saddam Hussein. The American actors who were included for the right accents have thirty pieces of foreign silver jingling in their pockets. The film failed at the box office in the United States, because most Americans saw this piece of garbage for what it was -- garbage. Did I pay my hard-earned money to see this film? No. I saw enough of it in a promo film on the Sundance Channel. As a child I spent summers on my grandfather's farm, and I quickly learned that one does not have to get up close and personal with manure to know what it is. I hope the failure of this film serves as a cautionary tale the next time someone takes it into their head to trash the United States and its military forces with lies worthy of Josef Goebbels. Expand
  8. WilliamM.
    Jul 22, 2003
    8
    Joaquin Phoenix does a phenomenal job with his role and does his finest work since "To Die For." His interaction with Anna Paquin is compelling, and his relationships with Leon and the rest of his partners in crime were tangible. While not as fun as "M*A*S*H", the film is not nearly as cynical and depressing as I thought it might be. Recommended.
  9. JohnstonL.
    Aug 26, 2003
    8
    No Ned Kelly is not as good as this one. Gregor Jordan has done a wonderful job with this film. The film is made by a filmaker, a director, someone who cares about every frame of the film and what is in it, story and image. It is unfortunate that the media have chosen to focus on the delays because of the 'tower event'. The film is a film and is a dramatization so to those who No Ned Kelly is not as good as this one. Gregor Jordan has done a wonderful job with this film. The film is made by a filmaker, a director, someone who cares about every frame of the film and what is in it, story and image. It is unfortunate that the media have chosen to focus on the delays because of the 'tower event'. The film is a film and is a dramatization so to those who were there or not one has to remember that it is an adaption of a novel into a film of impressions of a time and place. Mr Phoenix and all actors in the film under Mr Jordan's direction - deliver. I hope the film does as well as it can under the pressures of ridiculous contemporary media and the inherent 'kill it' attitiude of human nature. Expand
  10. M.Walker
    Jan 12, 2004
    8
    First off, if you think for a moment that the makers of this film are attempting to portray a real experience in the US Army, you must be out of your mind. This is clearly not their intention. Rather, it is historical fiction mixed with drugs and mischief. I couldn't wait to watch this movie again after seeing Joaquin in the dismal "It's All About Love." It is quite a shame that First off, if you think for a moment that the makers of this film are attempting to portray a real experience in the US Army, you must be out of your mind. This is clearly not their intention. Rather, it is historical fiction mixed with drugs and mischief. I couldn't wait to watch this movie again after seeing Joaquin in the dismal "It's All About Love." It is quite a shame that this movie received limited exposure. Expand
  11. GregT.
    Feb 2, 2004
    1
    We took this off the DVD player after 1/2 hour. It was nonsense which included a bunch of unlikeable beat out, drugged up American soldiers in 1989. There were odd and unrealistic scenes in which drugged up solders driving tanks trashed entire villages and laughed about it. What is so funny about drug addiction and destruction? This is a non-redeeming film.
  12. CameronS.
    Feb 27, 2004
    7
    Ray Elwood?s favorite things about Germany are: Mercedes-Benz?s, No speed limit on the Autobaun, and a black market for anything. He?s my kind of despicable sleazebag genius. The film was first screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2001 and was picked up by Miramax on September 10. The next day, everything changed. Months later, we were celebrating our soldiers half-assed victories Ray Elwood?s favorite things about Germany are: Mercedes-Benz?s, No speed limit on the Autobaun, and a black market for anything. He?s my kind of despicable sleazebag genius. The film was first screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2001 and was picked up by Miramax on September 10. The next day, everything changed. Months later, we were celebrating our soldiers half-assed victories over sand people. The film portrays peacetime soldiers pretty poorly, but artificially convincingly plausible. Probably the most ?Army-dissing? or ?Anti-American? scene would be one where a tank filled with high soldiers rummages through a festival. Buffalo Soldiers is not intended to be an expose of how American soldiers spent their days and hours during peacetime, nor is it intended to be an attack on the U.S. military. It's not a cautionary tale or a morality play. Instead, it's a biting, black satire that takes full advantage of the absurdity of the situation. Without the draft, many of the people stuck in Germany were there as an alterative to spending time in jail. The unit depicted in Buffalo Soldiers isn't made up of gung-ho heroes, but of men whose lives are all about finding distractions. To be sure, the movie is not a patriotic hymn to our fighting forces. It illustrates an ancient tradition best summarized in that classic Army acronym SNAFU. At a time when the idea of patriotism is sometimes used to stifle dissent, it is important to remember that gripes and disgruntlement and anti-authoritarian gestures are part of our national heritage. I do not approve of Elwood or even much like him, but I think he represents a type, and Gregor Jordan's film is dark enough to suggest that sometimes such types prevail. Collapse
  13. Jun 3, 2014
    7
    Buffalo Soldiers is very reminiscent of Fight Club in terms of its dark style and bleak view on life. It's not quite as good though. Fight Club contained a lot more kinetic energy and more dazzling filmmaking. It is however still highly entertaining. The schemes the soldiers concoct are diabolical, and Phoenix fits perfectly into his witty, sketchy, rebellious character. You becomeBuffalo Soldiers is very reminiscent of Fight Club in terms of its dark style and bleak view on life. It's not quite as good though. Fight Club contained a lot more kinetic energy and more dazzling filmmaking. It is however still highly entertaining. The schemes the soldiers concoct are diabolical, and Phoenix fits perfectly into his witty, sketchy, rebellious character. You become mentally involved in all of their deals, and hope they get away with it all, even though they really don't deserve to. The movie sometimes wallows in its own nihilistic atmosphere a bit too much, and sometimes the plausibility of the characters is stretched pretty thin at times. These flaws make it occasionally feel somewhat stupid, but they're not enough to ruin this dark little gem of a dramady. Expand
Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. 75
    The film is filled with spot-on performances, by Harris, Glenn, Phoenix, and by Paquin, who has grown up after her debut in "The Piano" to become one of the most gifted actresses of her generation--particularly in tricky, emotion-straddling roles like this one.
  2. Sloppy when it should be incisive, indulgent when it should be astringent, and ultimately unsure of what it is mocking and in what spirit.
  3. Ultimately, it's a cold, caustic film that doesn't take a strong point of view but seems to offer up its numerous set pieces.