The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai: Across the 8th Dimension

Release Date: 8/15/1984 – Rated PG

Starring: Peter Weller (Robocop), John Lithgow (Harry & The Hendersons)

Plot Summary:  Red Lectoids from Planet 10.  Neurosurgeon Rock Star Scientist Comic Book Hero and his posse, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, the worst Italian accent ever put to film,  a tacky Jewish cowboy doctor.  That is Buckaroo Bonzai in a nut shell, a crazy-ass nut shell.

It turns out that Orson Wells’ fake alien landing in War of the Worlds actually happened; and those aliens (the Red Lectoids) are still living on Earth, either between the spaces in solid matter or working at Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, developing a way to get back home.  The Black Lectoids (all of whome are Rastafarians for some reason) will destroy the Earth if the Red guys are able to escape.  It is up Team Banzai to stop their leader, John Warfin/ possessed scientist Emileo Larzaro, for getting the overthrusted devise that will allow them to leave.  Can Buckaroo, Perfect Tommy & Rawhide stop John Warfin, John Bigboote & John Smallberries in time? 

Alex’s Thoughts: My mother actually used to have me watch this with her a lot when I was a kid, and it was a movie that I thought was good… when I was 10.  Twenty-two years later… not as good as I remember.  I have watched it between my childhood and the viewing I did for this review, and it was with a group of friends, which changes the dynamic of the movie; it’s much better watching it with someone else than alone.  I don’t like it the way I used to, but it has some endearing qualities – including John Lithgow’s great performance (and horrible Italian accent) and the fact that this movie is just flat-out bat-shit-crazy.

Tim’s Thoughts: There is too much for me to say about this movie on just one blog,  email me and we can talk. I LOVE this movie, and I know its cheese ball, and doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time, but as a kid this movie really influenced me. It suffered not only from being marketed completely wrong (not that I would know how to pitch this one) but also when Sherwood films went under no one was able to clear the red tape to get the rights and so the sequel never happened.  Thankfully this movie found it’s audience thanks to home video, a time capsule of the 80’s a movie that I don’t think could be made again. I am probably biased because I am an unabashed Peter Weller fan, but it also has Jeff Goldbum, Ellen Barken, Dan Hadaya, Christopher Lloyd, and Billy Idol, well not really, but Perfect Tommy looks a lot like him.  This is not a movie for everyone, but for those who want to see something truly unique and like the title character a really unlikely blend of Sci-Fi, humor, and action, Buckaroo Banzai is right for you. This movie has so many funny parts (intentional and not) that I enjoy it every time I see it. It’s dated and as Alex says Bat-Shit crazy, but I love it. I will stop raving now, like I said not for everyone, but for me, it’s just right. Just remember, where ever you go, there you are.

Final Thoughts: This is just a plain goofy movie, and is totally pure 80’s style at it’s best.  It’s definiatlyworth a watch. Note: pay close attention to the names of the Yoyodyne employees on the computer screen, and the P.A. announcements at Yoyodyne near the climax of the movie for some extra funny nuggets.  Buckaroo’s adventures, along with the civilian members of Team Bonzai – The Blue Blaze Irregulars, was intended as a multi-media series across films, novels & comic books, but the box office failure of this film fixed that.  You can tell they wanted this movie to be a big franchise, as there was already a reference to the sequel at the end of the credits.

Alex Rates This Movie 6/10

Tim Rates This Movie 10/10 (I am biased)

“Laugh while you can, monkey boy.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here