Synopsis by Mark Deming
Despite mixed reviews and a disastrous initial release that dumped the film into theaters for a week in the midst of the 1984 Summer Olympics, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension went on to become one of the major cult films of the 1980s, developing a rabid following after its release on videotape. Drifting between satire and improbable sci-fi adventure, the film stars Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzai, the son of an American mother and Japanese father who is a combination physicist, neurosurgeon, martial arts master, secret agent, and rock star who travels with his band of assistants/backing musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers. As the story opens, Buckaroo is driving his car through a mountain to test his new invention, the Oscillation Overthruster. However, a race of boorish aliens called the Red Lectroids have been waiting for such an item to become a reality, as they need it to return to the distant planet they call home. One of Buckaroo's arch-enemies, Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who has been possessed by the Red Lectroids, attempted to created a similar device decades before; now escaped from an insane asylum, he is back at work with the Lectroids on a plan to control the world. Throw in Rastafarian aliens, unscheduled travel between dimensions, and the odd inexplicable watermelon, and you get a film that defies conventional synopsis. With its fast pace, quotable dialogue ("No matter where you go, there you are"), and barrage of gags (subtle and otherwise), you won't be bored even when you're not sure what's going on. The supporting cast includes Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, a Cavalier with a snappy cowboy outfit, and Ellen Barkin as Penny Priddy, the twin sister of Buckaroo's late wife.
alien [not human], dimension-travel, invasion, mad-scientist, rescue, scientist, Superhero, time-travel, world-destruction