Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

Reviewed by Todd and Steve.

Released: August 6, 1984
Studio: The Cannon Group
MPAA Rating: R

Director: John Carpenter

Screenwriter: John Sayles

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Pat O’Brien, Bill Murray, Kate Beckinsale, Otto the Dog, Guy Smiley, Carole Landis, Joe Stargensky

Todd’s Review  ***

If you’re going to make a sci-fi adventure comedy that boasts a demented storyline, characters and situations both eccentric and cool, hilariously off-kilter dialogue, a bunch of alien creatures named John, and an extremely awesome Ford jet car, then this is definitely the way to do it. Peter Weller stars as Buckaroo Banzai, a scientist, neurosurgeon, and rock star who drives through a mountain and inadvertently opens a portal to the 8th dimension, allowing evil Red Lectroids to escape and infiltrate Earth. From there, Buckaroo and his Team Banzai cohorts must join forces with the benevolent Black Lectroids to stop human-turned-alien Lord John Whorfin from leading an insurgence…well, now I’ve said to much. Or perhaps not enough. Either way, if you happen to possess even a fraction of the half-whacked sense of humor that fans of this film have, then I think it’s high time you check this movie out. I thought first-time director W.D. Richter handled his chores quite well, and delivered quite a few artistic and nicely-composed widescreen shots, while he and screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch peppered the story, sets, and props with enough information—both necessary and throwaway—to warrant repeat viewings. The cast was loaded with recognizable faces who got into the spirit of their roles and acted with serious enthusiasm, and had a great time doing it…especially John Lithgow, who was just plain off-the-charts as the deranged Whorfin. For me, that great time translated to the screen, and with so much to like and appreciate, I couldn’t help but give this crazy film high marks for a job well done. (****½)

Review by Steve

We finally got a Marx Brothers movie without the intrusive songs…but now the jokes were bothersome! Of course, any Marx outing has some laughs, and this one still had its share, but overall it should’ve been much better. Most of it was surprisingly corny and uninspired, and only one set piece really stood out: the “I’m Maurice Chevalier!” passport bit. My favorite brother, Chico, at least remained on-par with previous films, but Groucho’s jokes mostly fell flat, Harpo was beyond silly, and Zeppo had nothing to do but run around. Groucho foil Margaret Dumont didn’t appear in this one, and was sorely missed. (6/12/10, **½)

Joe

We finally got a Marx Brothers movie without the intrusive songs…but now the jokes were bothersome! Of course, any Marx outing has some laughs, and this one still had its share, but overall it should’ve been much better. Most of it was surprisingly corny and uninspired, and only one set piece really stood out: the “I’m Maurice Chevalier!” passport bit. My favorite brother, Chico, at least remained on-par with previous films, but Groucho’s jokes mostly fell flat, Harpo was beyond silly, and Zeppo had nothing to do but run around. Groucho foil Margaret Dumont didn’t appear in this one, and was sorely missed. (**½)

One comment on “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

  1. Todd Benefiel
    11/2/12

    Damn, this was one fine test page.

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Movies Reviewed: 159

From the Monolith: 87

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