The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension (1984)

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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Post  BoG on Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:16 pm

Buckaroo Banzai was created kind of whole cloth out of nowhere as a pretender in the realm of classic young man's adventure sci-fi heroics and even super-heroics - it was an old template by that time (1984): the multi-level genius surrounded by uncommon allies and always in the center of action that actually determines the fate of the world. I was reminded first - perhaps expected - of Doc Savage and his crew, but Buckaroo (Peter Weller) and his cronies have a much more quirky nature. Buckaroo is described at one point as a combo Einstein, James Bond and Batman. In a way, it's a bit too much - this throws so much together to make up Buckaroo's profile that it spills over into the truly absurd - he's a neurosurgeon and also a rock star; these two alone should be too much for any one guy, but he's plenty of other things too, like a scientific genius and inventor. I think the over-arching weakness to this is that you're not supposed take anything too seriously, but this unavoidably drops the film down a few notches, even if it's all inventive.
I'm not even too clear on this but I think he causes the alien invasion problem in the film. The first sequence has him performing an experimental test drive of his Jet Car (a converted truck) which, besides achieving Mach 1, can also drive through solid matter. It's when he drives through a mountain that the aliens appear. The premise in this film is that when an alien threat rears its ugly head, only Buckaroo - with help from his gang - can confront such a threat on any level. The goal of these aliens, however, is so mixed up and convoluted, I simply did not find them threatening, just strange and annoying. Buckaroo's team is played by Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum and a few others; Ellen Barkin plays the one female who is an ally but not really part of the team. The freaky and dopey villains are played by John Lithgow (not an alien just a crazed Earthling) and Christopher Lloyd. BoG's Score: 5.5 out of 10
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