The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimensnion review by Tom Blain

What the $#%&?

Twenty minutes into this film I realized I would need tall, stiff drink. Reason one being that intoxication might lead to a greater understanding. Reason two being that if reason one fell through, at least I would start getting drunk and enjoy something on a Tuesday night. Twenty minutes later, reason one was abandoned in favor of reason two. Buckaroo Banzai can take that 8th Dimension and shove it.

So this movie has been given the exhausting comicky name The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the 8th Dimension. Of course there is a level of tongue-in-cheek goofiness expected, but I had a bad day at work and didn't need this. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is one of those... rock star, surgeon, Einsteinian physicists who has warped his way into some sort of magical dimension that allows him a sort of celebrity status. Along the way he and his rag tag gang of comic book rejects do battle with aliens as realistic as most trick-or-treating costumes.

Buckaroo himself is often dressed in a grey suit, with white shoes, reminiscent of the great Pee Wee Herman. Sophistication is immediately enhanced by his red rimmed coke bottle glasses, and a stellar scientific vocab that includes the word "quadrillionth." The cast of thousands resumes with a red-suited cowboy played by Jeff Goldblum (I think Goldblum and Weller got their roles confused), an alien emperor in the form of John Lithgow (his career annoys me), and goofball, muffin head Ellen Barkin. Christopher Lloyd is squeezed in there too as oddball alien #7. There are others including some guy in red and blue striped suit with bleached blond hair and a sassy attitude, and some greasy dude with a greasy mullet with an even sassier attitude, but I didn't want to waste my time looking up their names. The band of heroes and villains might have been fun had they not been played by poor actors, or given some sort of identity outside of outrageous costume. Often they were given some irritating lines to deliver, that are more outdated than a case of Tab.

There are a lot of things in this movie that scream "This is the 80s, aren't you glad its over." The Miami Vice costumes are one. The futuristic techno-bass background music; thats another one. The poor special effects, in leiu of Star Wars fame, is all over the place. After poor special effects, comes the piss poor editing. In one scene, a couple of duck hunters (in sunny California?) shoot down a freaky looking alien spaceship in broad daylight. The next shot of them (slyly inter-cut with a shot of Buckaroo stealing a Harley) is a pitch black night fall. They are assisted in their exploration of the spaceship by flashlights. Slapping forhead. Am I to believe that they went home for a bite, thought about it, and then brought their guns and dogs back to the spaceship to take a peek? Come on; pull your nose out of the powder-pick-me-up.

Many of these (both styles and gaffes) are reasons this movie has apparently become a "cult classic." I also read that this hunk of trash bombed at the box office (Yay! Go 1984 movie goers!), which makes me wonder what makes up a cult classic? Does a cult classic essentially have to be a movie that was so God awful that people celebrate its God awfulness? If so, is Glitter about 7 years shy of cult status?

The box office bomb is what prevented a sequel, Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League. The lord haveth mercy!

Even if I were to get over the cosmetics of the film, I still can't get passed the number of times people refer to Weller's character in full name. "We need to speak to Buckaroo Banzai.", "Hey look its Buckaroo Banzai.", "You can give me my penis back Buckaroo Banzai.". It will seriously drive a man crazy. I think in most situations, a name like that would get shortened to something like Buck, or 'Roo, or maybe Robocop, but no every character in the movie has to go the extra mile to pronounce his name in entirety. That alone takes one point of my rating, making it almost unbearable. If you are into bad cult films, then you might be able to stomach it, but if not than call Encore and tell them stop playing it at 10:45pm.




2 out of 10 Jackasses
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