Review #776: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai), John Lithgow (Lord John Whorfin / Dr. Emilio Lizardo), Ellen Barkin (Penny Priddy), Jeff Goldblum (New Jersey/Dr. Sidney Zweibel), Christopher Lloyd (John Bigboote), Lewis Smith (Perfect Tommy), Rosalind Cash (John Emdall), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Robert Ito (Professor Hikita), Pepe Serna (Reno Nevada), Ronald Lacey (President Widmark), Matt Clark (Secretary of Defense), William Traylor (General Catburd), Carl Lumbly (John Parker), Dan Hedaya (John Gomez), and Vincent Schiavelli (John O'Connor) Directed by W. D. Richter.
Here's what we can all agree is a "cult film". Buckaroo Banzai certainly have a mind of its own when it comes to being as offbeat and ambitious as possible. It has been described as a "science fiction romantic adventure comedy film", which is one heck of an classification, and it makes sense. Our main character is a scientist/neurosurgeon/rock musician/race car driver, complete with a bunch of assistants called the The Hong Kong Cavaliers. It's not an origin story as much as it feels like the middle of a much larger tale, especially with regards to our multi-talented lead. Weller excels as Banzai, mainly because of how he projects the hero, not being just an action hero, but also a smart quirky aspect to a quirky row of characters. Lithgow hams it up as well as anyone would when named "Lizardo", especially with that wig and teeth. The Cavaliers (Brown, Serna, Smith, Goldblum, Vera) and Lloyd (especially that makeup) are also pretty entertaining to watch as well. Weller and Barkin certainly have some entertaining chemistry together. The movie is certainly offbeat enough to work, although it is a shame that the movie did not succeed financially. It certainly has enough charm and fun in it. The effects still look pretty good for 1984, especially with the Lectroids, who look right for a movie as offbeat as this. The movie ends (naturally) with our heroes walking off together (with a killer end credits theme), announcing plans for a sequel that (so far) has never been made entitled Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. Ultimately, this is a movie that does what it feels makes sense, without regards to trying to being simple in any regard that you have to see for yourself.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.