Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th August 1984
Distributed by: Sherwood
Production compaines: 20th Century Fox
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 10
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: W.D. Richter
Producer: Neil Canton, W.D. Richter
Screenwriter: Earl Mac Rauch
Starring: Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzai, John Lithgow as Lord John Whorfin, Ellen Barkin as Penny Priddy, Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, Christopher Lloyd as John Bigboote, Lewis Smith as Perfect Tommy
He's Buckaroo Banzai, inhabited by the inimitable Peter Weller in a role that has granted him cult status among the geeks of the world. In this film (originally intended to be the first of a series but petering out after the debut), Banzai's trip into the 8th dimension sets off an intergalactic war of sorts, as a former interdimensional traveler (who came out wholly insane in the form of Lord John Whorfin (John Lithgow)) is trying to get Banzai's Oscillation Overthruster for himself, in order to bring a plague of evil aliens to destroy the earth. And of course there are good aliens that just won't have any of that -- and they're set to blow up the earth themselves if Whorfin succeeds.
If any of this makes sense (and it shouldn't), you'll find Buckaroo Banzai a delicious and funny piece of sci-fi with the same appeal that the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series has long held. From its goofy hero to crazy dialogue (Computer voice: "Attention: There are monkey boys in the facility.") to its Land of the Lost-grade special effects to a synthesizer-heavy score (which matches well with the Miami Vice costumes), Buckaroo Banzai screams cult classic through and through. Weller and Lithgow are perfectly cast as arch-enemies, but it's Banzai's hilarious band members/adventuring henchmen (known as The Hong Kong Cavaliers) that push the film over the top.
At long last, Banzai comes to special edition DVD, a new cut that attempts to address the concerns of many critics back upon its original release, namely that the story was just incomprehensible. That was certainly a fair complaint, and the reinstated footage (including a new opening flashback sequence, with Jamie Lee Curtis as young Buckaroo's mom) helps considerably. Loyal fans will find tons of fabulous extras -- the trailer for an aborted Buckaroo Banzai TV series, commentary track and "fun facts" subtitles, and even album covers for The Hong Kong Cavaliers. It's exhaustive and obsessive -- perfect for the fanatic.
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