I’m almost ashamed to admit that I hadn’t seen W.D. Richter’s slapdash madcap sci-fi send up The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension until this summer. The film is so strange, so aggressively and willfully weird, that I don’t know how its cult vibes hadn’t enmeshed me earlier.
The film stars a deadpan Peter Weller as the titular Buckaroo, a neurosurgeon/rock star/superhero who, alongside his team/fellow bandmates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop the Red Lectroids from Planet 10. Or something like that.
The plot is a shambolic mess, sprawling out in bizarre directions. Buckaroo Banzai is never sure if it’s cyberpunk or Moonlighting or a winking jab at Flash Gordon or a riff on a rock movie. It’s enthralling and terrible at the same time.
But there’s no need to oversummarize here, when all one must needs do to get a feel for Buckaroo Banzai is watch its marvelous end title sequence. Go ahead, watch it:
There’s nothing I don’t love about these four minutes: The strutting! The skinny ties! Jeff Goldblum in furry chaps and a cowboy hat! Smokin’ hot Ellen Barkin! That little hop that Peter Weller does at 1:40! The promise of a sequel that never came! And that song! That jaunty joyful whistling slice of ’80s cheese! Love love love it!