There are questions in life that seem far greater than what we mere mortals could possibly find ways to answer. Like, why is Jennifer Lopez actually taken serious as a musical artist? Or, where does air go? Some things science can answer, as with Jennifer Lopez’s singing career (scientists refer to it as ‘the booby effect’), but those other questions (like, for real, where does air go?), we are lead into an anomaly. Questions with no answers. Well, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but hey, toot toot! I’m here, I’m an immortal and I can answer any question that is directed at me. I don’t guarantee that I will be right, or that the answers will be logical or comprehensible, but I’ll make something up, it’s in my nature. This month, I’m taking business into my own hands. Sure, no one asked me who would win in a death match pitting Team Banzai of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and The A-Team from, well, the 80’s action serial The A-Team. There are so many factors I have taken into consideration when compiling the data for this brave experiment (I am in no way winging this on the night before this article is due), the first of which was who of Team Banzai to select to pit in this death match. I decided to choose the hardest men available, the bravest and the absolute most brutal. Not surprising, Jeff Goldblum’s New Jersey character of course made the list. So, along with New Jersey, there is of course Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) himself, Rawhide (Clancy Brown) and the constantly reliable Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith). The A-Team, well, you should really know this one, but you’ve got Murdock (Dwight Shultz), Faceman (Dirk Benedict), B.A. Baracus (Mr. T!) and Hannibal (George Peppard).
THE HOWS and WHYS
So honestly, what brings these two rogue groups together to do battle unto the death? A secret mastermind controlling them both from behind the scenes? Mind control from beyond the stars? No, no, something even more difficult to handle. A flat tire. A series of them. Along a deserted roadway somewhere on a bordering desert town near Las Vegas, Buckaroo Banzai and his bus containing the Hong Kong Cavaliers breaks down. With the greatest technology in the world at their fingertips by way of the Banzai institute, and the brilliant mind of Buckaroo himself (did you know he’s a surgeon, rock star AND scientist? Beat that!), it would seem this group of flat tires (apparently three tires had a slow leak, and the fourth went out after rolling over a box of razorblades left in the middle of the road) would do no more than set the group back a few minutes, but you would be wrong… Banzai & Co. left the tire iron behind at the Banzai Institute… along with the spare tires. So, baking under the sun, Buckaroo has no choice… he practices some guitar licks for his forthcoming album “Banzai Style: Dimension Warp Future Fantastic”. While jamming on his axe, a dust cloud began to form in the off distance. A van by the looks of it, moving at an impossible speed of seventy miles per hour. In a matter of minutes, the van was parked alongside the bus. The first man to exit, the master of wisecracks himself, “Howling Mad” Murdock. Being the kind gentleman that he is, he at first asks what is wrong with the van and if he can be of some assistance. After hearing Dr. Banzai out, Murdock of course then laughs directly at Buckaroo, throwing spittle in his face no less. Deeply offended, Buckaroo summons forth the Hong Kong Cavaliers. In return, Murdock whistles for the rest of the A-Team, but sadly is forced to knock on the window and politely ask for the rest of the guys to come out and help. He eventually gets the group out though (by ultimately bribing B.A. with a glass of milk, which is never delivered). Then the men stand face to face, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder… torso to other torso. You get the point.
Choice Dialogue Quotes:
Buckaroo Banzai: “Look, maybe we got off on the wrong foot. I’m Buckaroo Banzai, maybe you’ve heard of me. Half Japanese scientist, physician, rock musician. I’m of extreme importance”
Murdock: “It’s weird, because you don’t look Asian at all. Matter of fact, if you’re Asian, then I’m a lumbering black man… no offense B.A.”
B.A.: “Why would I be offended by that, fool?”
Murdock: “You’re right… if you’re asian, then I’m one of those dirty Mexicans… no offense, Television’s Erik Estrada”
Erik Estrada: “No problem, It’s been more than twenty years since CHiPs got cancelled, and I’m STILL bagging hotter chicks than you did in your prime, monkey boy”
So obviously, you get eight grown men, both driving pretty tricked out rides, and you just know a beat down is about to commence. The first punch is actually thrown by the most unlikely of culprits, The A-Team’s very own Templeton “Faceman” Peck, who becomes violent after Perfect Tommy of Team Banzai makes a snippy comment about his hair. The punch lands smoothly on Tommy’s chin, but the strength behind it doesn’t do much more than cause him to budge backwards. Buckaroo, seeing what is going on, reaches for his revolver but is cut short by Hannibal, who from out of nowhere pulls a Tommy Gun from behind his back. Both groups freeze, either out of morbid curiosity of where the automatic weapon came from, or just the simple fact that they know they’ve been outgunned. The A-Team sensing they have the upper hand, back away from Team Banzai as Hannibal prepares for a call of wholesale slaughter. Hannibal begins his assault, emptying his magazine at point blank range. He misses every target. Whether this is because the weapon is loaded with blanks, or Hannibal is just a terrible shot, isn’t clear. Realizing he isn’t pushing up daisies, Buckaroo jumps to his wits and disarms Hannibal with a swift chop to the hand. Murdock, sensing the palpable danger, runs back to the van and hides behind a tire. Buckaroo manages to knock Hannibal to the ground and goes for his pistol, but simultaneously his hand is jerked away as B.A. runs and tackles him. The pistol goes into freefall tumbling toward the earth several feet away – and by a bizarre twist of fate, goes off on the ground and sends a bullet hurling directly into the face of “Faceman”. The first member of the A-Team goes down. Seeing his partner go down, B.A. takes another charge – this time at Rawhide, who offers a few choice last words before the large Baracus accidentally trips and lands on Rawhide. The awkward position leaves the Banzai member with a broken neck and fractured skull. Sadly, death does not come immediately, but in a slow and painfully silent hour without movement (hey, no one said this would be pretty). Both groups at this point are in collective disarray. Unsure whether to continue the battle or help collect the dead. A standoff ensues. At this point Murdock comes walking from his place behind the van, assuming the fighting is over, and makes the terrible mistake of being far too quiet. As he steps to the back of Hannibal, he says something about a girlie magazine he found under B.A.’s collection of gold chains, but it is too late, as Hannibal (with his keen instincts) reels around and jams a blade in “Howling Mad” Murdock’s chest. Using the same knife, and not being deterred by his murdering a good friend, Hannibal twirls yet again this time propelling his blade in the direction of Perfect Tommy, who catches it square between his eyes. The odds are even, two on two. Buckaroo Banzai teamed with that pinnacle of masculinity, New Jersey – with Hannibal and B.A. Baracus standing on the opposing line. The four stare each other down, both fearing but anxious to make that final move which will no doubt seal at least two of their fates. Surprisingly, New Jersey is the one to break the dance, as he pulls his gun from his belt and holds it in the air and prepares for surrender. He slowly begins to place it on the ground, easing the tension (and angering Buckaroo) as he does it. Just as it seems Buckaroo is going to have to fight his battle single-handedly, NJ does something drastic. From out of his cowboy suit comes the largest gleaming meat cleaver known to man, and before you can say “taste the cleaver!” (well, maybe not before… more like, after…), New Jersey is on top of Hannibal hacking away at the elderly gentleman. The two men left, Buckaroo Banzai and the unstoppable B.A. Baracus are both thoroughly confused by this sudden turn of events, but are soon to be shocked even further when in the background a large creaking noise is to be heard. As the sound gets closer, the mechanical nature of it becomes clearer and clearer, and Buckaroo’s face shows an understanding as he turns to face this cacophony of noise. There, standing now just outside the Hong Kong Cavalier’s bus is ED 209. Buckaroo goes into hysterics, screeching on how the ED 209 has finally sought vengeance, and in his panic it seems he doesn’t take notice of ED’s pleading for him to drop his weapon. He now has twenty seconds to comply. Buckaroo continues to run back and forth, not even making an attempt to dash towards the desert. Finally the countdown reaches it’s bottom and ED 209 begins firing chamber after chamber from his machine gun arms into Buckaroo, who falls backwards onto a giant model of Detroit (that was inexplicably there before the bus even pulled over). As Buckaroo is brutalized with bullets, B.A. makes the wise choice of running back down the highway from the direction they originally traveled. Perhaps an act of cowardice, but really, have you seen how big ED 209 is?
Choice Dialogue Quotes:
Rawhide: “Cripes! I shouldn’t even be here, I thought I died in the movie!”
B.A. Baracus: “Not according to the fanboys, sucka!”
Murdock: “Jimminy Crickets! Who’d have thought it would end like this?”
The Reader: “To tell the truth, I kind of saw it coming as soon as your name was brought back up”
Murdock: “… I hope you get hit by a bus full of pirates”
New Jersey: “Look! Hey, I don’t even know why they gave me one of these things! I’m a pacifist! A man of medicine. I don’t kill people, golly no. Look, I’m putting it down… now, who’s ready to taste the Cleaver!”
B.A. Baracus: Oh snap! I’m outta this mug like last year!”
So, the outcome? Who is the victor and who is the loser? Well, two men survived, B.A. Baracus and of course, the psychotic and deranged New Jersey. As well as ED 209, who easily got the coolest kill. Opposing members, and one robot… wow, this turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. Well, for the sake of having a conclusion, we’ll say that the three will now join forces in an action adventure, made for video serial called “Banzai’s Angels: The Quest for The World Crime League“. Now, with all of this settled, wouldn’t you watch a made for video series like that? Who wouldn’t? I’ll tell you who, communists, and they have no bearing on the situation at hand – so with that, I’ll call this session of Psycho Geekout theater a complete success. Nothing was solved, not many points were really made and overall a very confusing story was established. My job here is done.