"The very oddest good movie in many a full moon," Buckaroo Banzai combines "humor, imagination, a little oriental mysticism and a passel of sharp performances [into] very chic sci-fi" (Time)! Oscar(r) nominees* Peter Welle... more »r and John Lithgow team with Emmy(r) winners Ellen Barkin and Christopher Lloyd for a fiendishly clever, action-packed adventure in an outlandishworld you'll want to visit again and again! Brilliant brain surgeon Banzai (Weller) just made scientific history. Shifting his Oscillation Overthruster into warp speed, he's the first man ever to travel to the Eighth Dimension and come back sane! But when his sworn enemy, the demented Dr. Lizardo (Lithgow), devises a plot to steal the Overthruster and bring an evil army of aliens back todestroy Earth, Buckaroo goes cranium to cranium with the madman in an extra-dimensional battle thatcould result in total annihilation of the universe! *1993: Short Film/Live Action, Partners (Weller); 1983: Supporting Actor, Terms Of Endearment (Lithgow)« less
Beverly C. from SAINT LOUIS, MO Reviewed on 12/18/2012...
I saw this movie for the first time almost 20 years ago - and it was love at first laugh. I've shared its wisdom with my children, "laugh while you can, monkey-boy", and my grandchildren "no matter where you go, there you are". As campy as it is, it is truly entertaining all they way through the credits.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reece A. from MENTONE, IN Reviewed on 9/13/2011...
While it isn't likely to appeal to most demographics, Buckaroo Banzai has a strange charm and enjoyability to itself that makes it a worthwhile experience and a must-see for lovers of science fiction comedy.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lorca S. from BOZEMAN, MT Reviewed on 12/15/2009...
A cult classic! Very satisfying.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
DVD is stuffed fuller than Santa's Sack! Deleted scenes here
Kendal B. Hunter | Provo, UT United States | 01/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE FILMBB is second to "Rocky Horror" as the greatest cult film ever.A lot of the recent appeal is the "Before they were Stars" factor--Peter Weller, Robocop; JOHN Lithgow, 3rd Rock; Jeff Goldblum, Ten Speed and Brownshoe, Jurassic Park; Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future, Taxi; Vincent Schiavelli, Subway Guy in Ghost; Yakov Smirnov, plays the Secretary of Defense.They characters look like the people they are supposed to play. Weller is gaunt and tan enough so that he does indeed look half-Japanese. Vincent Schiavelli looks alien enough, and Lithgow does one mean Mussolini. Ellen Barkin is perfect as a lost girl in a big city.This is sci-comedy, along the lines of Ghostbusters, Hitchhikers Guide, where it simultaneously contributes to the Genera while satirizing it. Look at all of the BB references on Star Trek! In the commentary, Ruach and Richter explain they were imitating the odd humor found in "DR. STANGELOVE," so see that film first before you judge! PS--the watermelon in the Steel press is explained in the audio commentary. There are emotions surrounding a film, and meaning found in repeating lines, as in Rocky Horror, or Princess Bride. It almost becomes a type of liturgy, where the filmed padre speaks his parts, and we respond-a communion of comedy! A morality play! Ruach and Richter want us to believe that BB is actually a docudrama of a real but enigmatic person. And at a certain level, we want to believe them!The choice for synthesized music was correct, and also a slice of the times, as in Ladyhawke, or Tron. The music itself is catchy, killer, and DEMANDS TO HAVE A CD ISSUE!For those who don't like this film, try these things. First, you need to see this film. Secondly, read some of the BB fan-pages on the Internet. Thirdly, see the film again. Fourthly, read the book, which is the indispensable companion to the film. Fifthly, see the film again. Repeat the process until you get it. I think it takes about 6 viewings (or is it 88?) viewings of this film to understand it.On the down side, this film has been described as being "Part 6" of a series. We enter "in the middle of things," but it is more like "in the muddle of things." There is the Elvis-esq Banzai, surrounded by a cloud of secondary characters that we see for a second, and then they pass. "In the middle of things" may not have been the best place to introduce the world to Dr. Banzai. Why not do the origin story and work foreword? True that Lucas began with Episode IV, not with Episode I, but the cadre of characters was smaller and easier to follow. "Doc Savage: Man of Bronze," Unbreakable," or "Batman I" are great origin films, and we are not complicated by secondary characters such as Patricia Savage, or Robin and Batgirl. Slowly they worked up to the secondary charactersFor example of this middle-muddle, the gatekeeper "Pinky Carruthers" has an extensive background. He is a Blue Blaze Irregular, is Knight Commander, and knows 47,000 unknown facts. But this in not germane to the story and is wisely never mentioned in the film, just in the book. But this background may have a bearing on any future episodes of this movie. There was a lot of work for something that never surfaced. The Simpsons slowly worked up to all the secondary characters, with the core of the Five Favorite Family members being the lynchpin of all Springfield. There was too much ambition--you always leave room for growth.Editing destroyed The Abyss, and hurt this film. I agree that the parts of Hanoi Xan were wisely taken out of the film, since this would only add another layer of complexity that was not germane to the film, but other scenes were taken out for no reason, which hurt the continuity of the film, such as the extended beginning which showed Dr. Banzai's early life, and death of his parents. This picture has a lot of action, but it doesn't accentuate the action. Dr. Banzai parachutes out of the spaceship, but they could have made his exit more dramatic. And he is a martial artist, but the extent of his physical action is to kick an alien in the crotch. Marital artist huh?!!!THIS DVD IS STUFFED FULLER THAN SANTA'S SACK!!!They are finally making DVDs that utilize the technology to the utmost!The copy is superb, light-years ahead of the grainy copy on the VHS re-release, plus it is in wide screen format, so you actually see the movies in its panoramic glory. It is indeed like seeing another movie! The only problem is that the work prints are of a lower quality than the rest of the film, but we can deal with it.Included are all of the deleted scenes from the editors work print, the bootleg that has been floating around for a decade and a half. Paramount of these scenes is the original opening with Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mother. Frankly, this is the beginning that should have been the theatrical release, and the film not only makes more sense, but you emotionally connect with Dr. Banzai and the trauma he has experienced. In a movie they should show you what happened, you shouldn't have to read about it!Other extras are a bio on Dr. Banzai, and a sample of his philosophy, plus some of Pinky Carruther's 47,000 unknown facts are presented as an optional subtitle.This DVD will keep you busy for hours!!!Marketing note: The original film poster, the current VHS and the DVD cover all stink, but what would be a good one? I don't know. The VHS reissue is the least offensive, but the original and reissue book covers would be an improvement, with emphasis on the reissue book-cover. Packaging this film would keep any Madison Avenue up at night"
Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy! Buckaroo's BACK!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 11/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai' nearly defies definition! A cult classic, this send-up of alien invasion stories, pulp fiction heroes, and adventure movies is a love/hate proposition; while I found it to be brilliant fun, many of my friends thought it was incomprehensible! One thing for sure...There is NO other film quite like it!Buckaroo (played with laid-back coolness by Peter Weller) is a Japanese/American race car driver/neurosurgeon/rock star/comic book hero who, with his rock 'n roll commandos, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, balances his time between saving lives, pushing the boundaries of science, troubleshooting for the President, and playing gigs in nightclubs (lost, yet?). The film opens with his performing surgery, recruiting a new Cavalier member (a pre-stardom Jeff Goldblum), then hopping into a prototype race car, supposedly to break the land speed record, but actually to test a device that would allow man to travel through solid objects by adjusting their molecular density! (NOW are you lost?)The experiment works, but thrusts Bonzai temporarily into the Eighth Dimension, a kind of Phantom Zone for criminals from Planet Ten. The breech allows an alien invasion to begin, as Planet 10 stormtroops (frog-faced creatures who all take the names of various celebrities named 'John') get their marching orders, and invade New Jersey!This is not the first time the Eighth Dimension has been breeched; in 1938, Dr. Lizardo (John Lithgow, in his funniest performance ever) attempted a similar experiment, but his head became stuck, temporarily, in the hole! An alien presence entered his mind, and Lizardo was shipped off to a mental hospital, where he plotted the destruction of the human race ("Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy! You all are-a gonna die!") Freed by the invasion force, Lithgow begins to carry out his threat!Meanwhile, Bonzai meets Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin, in an early performance), the twin sister of his lost love, while the Hong Kong Cavaliers are performing at a gig, and begins wooing her with his philosophy of life ("No matter where you go...there you are.") A frantic call from the President and a murder attempt breaks up the romantic interlude, and the adventure REALLY begins! (If you aren't lost by now, you may just be a Buckaroo fan!)The film careens from one climax to another, scarcely allowing the viewer time to think (which, in a film like this, may be a GOOD thing!). Director W.D. Richter deftly keeps the tone light, although there is a heartbreaking death scene tossed in. As the situation grows more desperate, alien Black Lectoids, and the Buckaroo Bonzai Fan Club (Team Banzai) arrive to lend a hand! Will Good triumph? Will Buckaroo find happiness with Penny Priddy? Will the sequel, with Buckaroo taking on a world crime syndicate, ever be made? (Sadly, as the film bombed in it's initial release, THAT appears unlikely!) Loaded with more imagination than any three films you can name, and a oddball sense of humor, to boot, 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai' is a wonderful, wacky triumph, that challenges you to toss aside preconceptions, and 'enjoy the ride'! I HIGHLY recommend it!"
Camp classic send up of Doc Savage like hero ahead of time
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 01/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Surreal, off the wall and down right gut splitting funny, BB was a full decade of its time. The cast is clearly having fun with the material. You'd think that the folks from Planet 10 would learn something from Superman's experience with the Phantom Zone--limbo can't keep nasty, evil and weird aliens out of your hair forever.This deluxe DVD has a beautiful wide screen transfer of the film, 14 outtakes taken from the workprint (and integrated into the sequences they were cut from so they actually make sense)and the alternate opening with Jaime Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mom (that explains this film!). THe cast is a who's who of cult films and odd ball performances; Peter Weller plays the brain surgeon/rock star/agent for good (ala Doc Savage)with wit and a sparkle in his eye; Ellen Barkin sparkles in one of her first major screen roles as Penny Pretty the despondent, sexy secret twin sister of Buckaoo's late lover; Jeff Goldblum helped define quirky with his straight faced performance as "New Jersey"; John Lithgow shines as the possessed scientist Dr. Lizzardo playing Lizzardo as an over the top melodrama villian (with a bizarre Italian accent no less!). The cast also includes Christopher Lloyd, Clancey Brown and a watermelon...The inclusion of the trailer for the never made television series from 1998 is a gem although it doesn't quite convey the quirkiness of the film. I kept wondering, who else besides Peter Weller (who's much too old to play BB nearly 20 years later) could pull the role off?My only complaint is that since I don't have a nuon enhanced DVD I can't enjoy this weird feature. Still, with the running commentary from Richter and pop up factoids of Pinkie, this deluxe edition of a great cult classic finally gets its due. It gives me hope that MGM went to as much effort as they have at putting this fine DVD together. My only complaint (the movie is 5 stars; the DVD 4 1/2) is the lack of new cast and crew interviews about the project."
Filled With Surprises
Reviewer | 04/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since the release of this film in 1984, it has achieved bona fide cult status, and with good reason; for it is, without question, one of the most unique offerings in the universe of cinematic science fiction. chock-full of quirky, memorable characters and scenes, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension," directed by W.D. Richter, is laced with clever dialogue, action, adventure and surprises. And where else are you ever going to find a main character who is a scientist, brain surgeon and rock n' roll star all rolled up into one? After years of research, Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) and his colleague, Professor Hikita (Robert Ito), have successfully developed an "overthruster," a device that has allowed Buckaroo to pass through solid matter-- a mountain, in fact-- driving through it at high speed in his specially designed and equipped car. But when his achievement hits the news, it captures the attention of the mad Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who catches the story on television from his room in the insane asylum, where he has been a resident for many years, ever since his own attempt at developing an overthruster failed. But though Lizardo's trial run with the overthruster failed, it did put him in contact with alien beings from another realm, one of whom-- Lord John Whorfin-- has since that encounter inhabited Lizardo's mind and body. They are Red Lectroids from Planet 10 by way of the 8th dimension, stranded on earth (in human form) and awaiting the development of the overthruster, which will enable them to return home. These are dangerous and resourceful beings, and they are about to take Buckaroo Banzai-- currently on tour with his band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers-- by surprise. And soon, all that will stand between the Red Lectroids and the destruction of the earth, will be Buckaroo, his band and some help from his loyal followers, the "Blue Blazer Regulars." Working from the highly imaginative, clever and detailed screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch, Richter has fashioned and delivered a colorful and exciting adventure filled with subtle humor, the unexpected and an array of outrageous characters, from Whorfin and the Lectroids (all of whom have the first name "John"), to Buckaroo's cohorts like "Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith)" and New Jersey (Jeff Goldblum), to the alluring, mysterious woman Buckaroo encounters, Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin). It's an unconventional, yet readily accessible film that Richter has packed with interesting asides, lines and situations, all of which drive the story forward and keep you guessing as to what could possibly happen next. He throws so much at you, in fact, that it's impossible to catch it all the first time through; but it's a movie that lends itself to repeated viewings, because it's exactly what this kind of film is supposed to be: Pure entertainment from start to finish. Peter Weller is perfectly cast as Buckaroo, and he successfully captures all of the elements that make his character the ultimate Renaissance Man of the immediate future. With this performance, Weller becomes the personification of the genius, adventurer and master-of-all-things; it's the definitive portrayal of a unique individual, quite unlike any ever presented on the silver screen before. Weller's Buckaroo is intelligent and self-assured-- watching him you get the feeling there's always something going on in his head, and always a step ahead of the next guy-- and it's his ability to convey the complexities of the character that makes him believable, and his incredible exploits seem credible. Simply put, Weller has taken a comic book character and made him real, and it makes the film work. As Lizardo/Whorfin, John Lithgow takes it magnificently over the top with a character that is something of a precursor to his High Commander Dick Solomon on TV's "3rd Rock from the Sun." And watching this guy in action is a real kick. He's larger than life, wildly animated and extroverted, while affecting an accent that's a veritable smorgasbord of dialect. He lumbers along like a mutated Quasimodo, and when he gives a speech to his fellow Red Lectroids about going "home," it's one of the most hilarious scenes you're ever going to see anywhere. There's definitely a method to Lithgow's madness, and it's a terrific performance. Christopher Lloyd also turns in a winning performance as another of the Red Lectroids, "John Bigboote," and his exchanges with Lithgow are a riot (especially when Lizardo insists on calling him "Big-Booty," and Bigboote adamantly insists that it is pronounced "Bigboo-TAY!"). And that's just an example of the many, many finer and detailed elements Richter uses to make this film so enjoyable and successful, from consistently funny verbal exchanges to broad physical humor, all interspersed with the action and woven seamlessly into the story. The additional supporting cast includes Rosalind Cash (John Emdall), Pepe Serna (Reno Nevada), Matt Clark (McKinley), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Carl Lumbly (John Parker), Vincent Schiavelli (John O'Connor), Dan Hedaya (John Gomez), Bill Henderson (Casper), Damon Hines (Scooter), Billy Vera (Pinky Carruthers), Ronald Lacey (President Widmark) and William Traylor (General Catburd). A film that will take you on a wild ride and into regions beyond the known, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" is that most rare treasure among cinematic discoveries: A truly unique film. It's enthralling and entertaining, and will keep you laughing and involved no matter how many times you see it. And it's filled with great lines you'll be able to quote endlessly and use for any occasion. Or, as Buckaroo himself would say, "No matter where you go, there you are..." It's the magic of the movies."
CAMP CULT CLASSIC - A MUST OWN
Jose R. Perez | Yonkers, NY USA | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before "Austin Powers" there was BUCKAROO BANZAI - Poet, Doctor, Global Protector and Man-About-Town. Buckaroo made it to the 8th dimension a dozen years ago, but it took a minor miracle to get himself released on DVD - and at an affordable price at that! IT'S WELL WORTH THE WAIT. This is a hysterical, inspired movie that lets the audience enjoy a wild bumpy unexpected and thrilling ride (if you dare.) John Lithgow is brilliant as the hunch-backed mad scientist Lizardo. He's a chameleon of an actor and here proves he can and will do ANYTHING to become his character. With bad hair days and bad teeth to boot, his Lizardo is a devilish creature you'll love! Lithgow plays this part TO THE HILT. Peter Geller looks great in the title role, but in his character's self-depreciating style, is regularly upstaged by Chris Lloyd and Ellen Barkin in flashier supporting roles. Still, you can't help lovin' Buckaroo and his band of heros as they fight off the bad guys, tackle resident aliens, cure diseases, rescue entire nations, and go about their everyday humdrum Superhero lives. Like "Rocky Horror" before it with its inside jokes, wild characters and odd edits, "Banzai" time warps, space-travels and shimmies. Heck - the Banzai theme ALONE will keep you humming for days. And when you least expect it, out of nowhere you'll burst out laughing thinking about a particular scene or character (and that's easy to do with names like Perfect Tommy, Penny "Pretty" Priddy and John Big Booty (John Big-bootaay.) Destined to always stand as a camp epic, movie-moguls and Broadway producers should consider varied versions for the masses(as in BIG BUCKAROOS). At minimum the film should have extended run midnight show at the local cinema (like "Rocky Horror" ... a much needed alternative to Friday nights.) I bet plenty of folks would enjoy experiencing Buckaroo on the big screen, since most of us missed it the first time around!
Not only is this a fun family flick that withstands repeat viewings it also provokes uninhibited childish outbursts that we all need every once in awhile - especially these days. PLUS,
the DVD is chock-full of goodies that BUILD on the film experience, and tie some tangled pieces together for its audience (and trust me, you'll be confused.) Yes, the sets are truly tacky at times, and Ed Wood-ish qualities abound. But those exact same qualities make it that much more FUN! In fact, as strange and as stupid as it becomes at times (and it WILL BE at first) part of the magic is letting it swallow you whole! In the end, it may still seem stupid or inane, but I bet you'll never forget it!I'm suprised the BANZAI franchise hasn't been more deliberately marketed to new generations and audiences. Most likely, no one can be really be expected to improve on this original and its dishevelled work of genius. Plus, the film's idiosyncracies and values might be doomed in an update or remake, and that would be a shame. Think "Planet of the Apes". THAT SAID, in the right hands, with its RAIDERS of the LOST ARK themes and STAR WARS shtick, I'd bet on Buckaroo! Calling Dreamworks! Again, the story needs repeat viewings to be enjoyed fully, but don't worry about keeping up - half the fun is not knowing exactly WHAT's going on, but experiencing it anyway. Just listen closely and enjoy! And remember - "no matter where you go, there you are"!!"