The Golden Child (1986)

the golden child IMDb

I’m not going to lie here, I fell asleep watching this movie. I have watched it in the past and found it pretty average. The most exciting part of this more recent viewing was realising that Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) is the bad guy in it.

The Golden Child stars Eddie Murphy in his mid-80s heyday. He plays Chandler, a private detective who specialises in missing children. He is told he is ‘the chosen one’ who will find and protect ‘the golden child’, a Buddhist child with magical powers. The child has been kidnapped by a mean guy (Lannister), and Chandler is tasked with finding him and protecting him. At first Chandler dismisses this whole situation as ridiculous, he only goes along with it because he is attracted to the attractive woman (Charlotte Lewis) who informed him that he was the chosen one. As the film progresses, he realises this golden child mumbo jumbo might be more real than he would like to think. Chandler has to save the child, stop the bad guys and possibly get the girl too.

This is a pretty average film. It feels very much like a B grade Jackie Chan film. Murphy is the saving grace though, he is funny and charming, as he was most of the time in the 80s. I did like the way this film tried to merge eastern and western cultures. It was an interesting dynamic to see Murphy interacting with a bunch of Buddhist monks. Which I imagine would have been the selling point for making this film. Other than Murphy, this film is quite average though. The special effects look very dated and most of the other characters are not that interesting. It was fun to see a young Tywin Lannister though. You forget all of these guys had careers before Game of Thrones.

Rating: C

This is an 80s action comedy if I’ve ever seen one. It’s got everything: a comedy legend interacting with a kid, supernatural elements, and a neatly wrapped up happy ending. It’s like Big Trouble in Little China, only infinitely cuter.

The titular Golden Child is a young boy with supernatural powers, like bringing animals and (spoiler alert) people back from the dead. He is kidnapped by band of villains who wish to kill him for a reason I can’t recall right now. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. This is the kind of movie where you just sit back and go with it. Meanwhile, Chandler Jarrell (Eddie Murphy), a man whose job is finding lost kids (is this a real job?), is approached to help find the Golden Child.

The Golden Child isn’t Murphy’s best comedy, but it’s far from his worst. He’s just as charming and hysterical as usual, and also does handles the drama bits well. The problem is that he’s not given very strong material to work with. I’ve said it before: Murphy is an R-rated comedian, so anything less than PG-13 with him is somewhat disappointing. Still, this isn’t as painful as Daddy Day Care, so I’ll take it.

Rating: B-

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