Earth is caught in the middle of an alien civil war and only Buckaroo Banzai can save the day.
When astrophysicist/ neuroscientist/ samurai/ rockstar Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) succeeds in trans-dimensional travel, a band of fascist aliens (Red Lectroids) exiled on Earth (led by John Lithgow) steal his device to return to the 8th dimension. The good aliens (Black Lectroids) threaten to nuke the Earth to prevent the Reds coming back.
In the course of saving the day, Buckaroo is joined by his fellow band members/ crime fighters, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, and suicidal girlfriend Ellen Barkin.
I love pulp Science Fiction and had heard that this film was a cult classic, but I was hugely disappointed. Droll names, zany complications and references to Thomas Pynchon do not make up for the fact that the storyline is fairly muddled and the film is poorly paced.
In his review of the film, David Kehr of the Chicago Reader gets it spot on when he says 'the film gives you the mildly annoying sensation of being left out of a not very good private joke.'