Buckaroo Banzai is a physicist, surgeon, adventurer and musician (in the Hong Kong Cavaliers) who battles to save the world from evil Red Lectroids from Planet 10. The film feels like it's a middle chapter in a series, alluding to other adventures and characters.
The credits mention a sequel, Buckaroo Banzai versus the World Crime League, which was never made. A script was actually written and posted on the Internet and subsequently bought, but the prospects of production seem slight.
The novelization by Earl Mac Rauch is told through fake documents written and compiled by "Reno Nevada", and further expands on the backstory of the film, including the murder of Peggy Banzai by the minions of Asian crime lord Hanoi Xan, the deaths of Buckaroo's parents in an early Jet Car accident, and at least two other fictitious novels.
Buckaroo Banzai owes a debt to pulp hero Doc Savage.
A number of film critics state that unlike other cult films (Brazil, Blade Runner, The Evil Dead), much of the initial popularity of Buckaroo Banzai stemmed from 20th Century Fox's publicity campaign, which was produced with the deliberate intent of "creating" a cult following for this movie.
Some sources claim John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China began as another sequel to this movie.