MOVIE REVIEW: “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” (yes, that is the title), stars Peter Weller (RoboCop , Naked Lunch), John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun [TV series], Cliffhanger), Ellen Barkin (The Fan, Sea of Love), Jeff Goldblum (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Jurassic Park), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Lewis Smith (Wyatt Earp , Southern Comfort), Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man, Uptown Saturday Night), Robert Ito (Quincy M.E. [TV series], Midway), Pepe Serna (The Jerk, Scarface), Ronald Lacey (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Red Sonja), Matt Clark (Back to the Future Part III, Jeremiah Johnson), Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Thor: Ragnarok), Carl Lumbly (A Cure for Wellness, Men of Honor), and Vincent Schiavelli (Ghost, Tomorrow Never Dies). It is directed by W.D. Richter (Late for Dinner, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and written by Earl Mac Rauch (New York New York, A Stranger Is Watching). Buckaroo Banzai (Weller), a rockstar brain surgeon, must save the world from alien invaders travelling from the eighth dimension, along with his ragtag group of heroes.
There are some films you simply watch. Others, you experience. “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” is a viewing experience unparalleled. Whether you watch it high or otherwise, you will be expected to leave your sanity at the door, giving way to an unprecedented journey that would surely make you think you are tripping; sorry kiddos, that’s just the story. What is “Buckaroo Banzai”? I’m glad you asked. He’s a neuro-surgeon/rockstar/physicist/test pilot who has been embedded in comics, road shows, and the hearts of Americans everywhere as he kicks butt, lives life, and seeks to learn more about aliens. What a mouthful, am I right? Try watching the film. At some point, you just let your mind melt and accept the true fact that this feature was meant to be watched as a drinking game. Drink every time Buckaroo changes his occupation; drink every time one of the alien’s twitches his fingers; drink every time one of the movie’s conflicts is simply brushed off. You’ll get plastered quick, but maybe you’ll appreciate the film more. Who knows. I saw this with a group of three and we enjoyed the experience. Maybe because it’s meant to be shared with friends. We all knew what we were getting into, but the trailer could’ve never prepared us for the actual show. Good grief, my head was spinning. Not only was I in disbelief over just how much story this film tried to cover, but also the sheer star power and technical work that went into achieving it. Every ten minutes or so I would see a familiar face from smaller movies or television series, whether it be Jeff Goldblum, Clancy Brown, Jonathan Banks, or even Christopher Lloyd. Why the heck are they here!? Actually, I shouldn’t be asking that. I’m glad they’re here. Because you know what? I could care less. Hit me with however many stars you want “Buckaroo Banzai.” Heck, hit me with some solid cinematography while you’re at it and decent visual effects. Make me question even more whether you are a good film or not. My gosh, ladies and gentlemen, what is this? Essentially, “Buckaroo Banzai” is if “Big Trouble in Little China” had a baby with “Space Balls.” It’s pure campy cheese with a whole backstory that was decided on not to share with the audience upon writing the script. If you thought you’d be in for your typical, action-packed funhouse flick, you might find yourself bamboozled. Maybe even bazai’d, if that’s even a word (spell-check says no). I had a fun experience, as I’ve stated, but included with that was many head shakes, eye rubs, and questions that were never answered. The story is all over the place, yet fairly contained, with performances that play into the insanity well. It’s certainly the kind of movie you’d recommend if you were wanting to have a good laugh or prove your knowledge on obscure cinema. Whether or not you think it is a good film, though, is purely up to you. For me, I think it offers a lot of solid entertainment value with plenty to look at. However, I don’t believe I’d be privy to watch it again. I may need to take a long break (maybe a year) before I even consider picking up the title once more. Am I glad I got the chance to see it, despite the fact? Sure, especially since I saw it with a few friends who take joy in seeing the outlandish. “Buckaroo Banzai” is a movie unlike any other that offers plenty to digest, never settling for anything conventional nor feeling the need to inform the audience of anything (aside from your usual expositional dialogue moment from Mr. Goldblum). See it if you’re looking for a fun time, or want to trip out without the drugs. FINAL SCORE: 70%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: