Golden_child_movie

Review: THE GOLDEN CHILD (1986)

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Best Bad Quote:
“Hey bird, did you just see a little Hare Krishna midget in a tree?”
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It’s hard to rate The Golden Child. I mean… it’s easy. They thing’s stupider than the dumbest idiot, nothing makes sense, and all of the creative choices leave something to be… explained if not desired. But, it’s Eddie, man. EDDIE MURPHY! The man whose smile lit up the eighties! He’s the fairy Godfather of the Pee Wee Herman and Strawberry Shortcake generation. He’s He-Man. He’s jellies. He’s… Zoobilee Zoo! He made us. Thus, I can’t hate this movie, if only because of his irrationally staccato, infectious laugh. What is this power he holds? Still, this movie was a poor choice for the rising star to make after the success of Beverly Hills Cop. Dude just makes bad decisions: Norbit, Daddy Daycare, Tower Heissss00fhjflodjg… (That was my “heart” shutting down).
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The Golden Child is a supernatural, action, comedy tale that can’t make up its mind whether it’s a supernatural, action, or comedy tale. It’s a big mishmash of mismatched chemistry that, had they all been explored independently, could have made for a few pretty sweet flicks. Think Willow + 48 Hours + The Last Emperor. Hard to swallow all at once, eh? Haha… That’s what the demon said… when the golden child refused to eat his blood oatmeal! Snap! But I’m getting ahead of myself. See, the golden child is this soulful-eyed little show-off who represents the purity of human life on earth. If he dies, so does our compassion, and the world will royally suck. You know, like it does now. Anyway, some demon-spawned bandits kidnap the holy punk, who proceeds to blows their minds by making dead birds fly, or animating Pepsi cans into doing the can-can, all while he remains as ice cold as Shaft himself. As the minions try to feed him “impure blood,” which will contaminate his system, disassemble his impenetrable wall, and make him murder-able (?), he just sits pretty and takes it like a champ. He’s waiting for “the chosen one” to save him.
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You guessed it, Eddie’s the chosen one. He’s a gooooood guy. If this is unclear from his onscreen presence, the superb direction will help you along. After a montage of American flags and advertisements accost the viewer– Money, America..? Money, Greed…? America… Greedy?!– the Murph’ is revealed strutting down the street, hanging signs for missing children, making fun of guys who buy porn (sickos), and coaching basketball to kids. See, HE cares. HE seems to be the only one in this upside down, mess of a world. He’s cleaning up the streets! By hanging posters… Ok, I get it. You need a little more convincing. Well, let Heart help you with their brilliant lyricism. It turns out that Eddie’s “the best man in the world!” (The working title for this film was actually a Tibetan symbol meaning The Heavy Hand of Understand?). But seriously, this movie’s soundtrack is amazing. The score… My God! It grabs you by the balls, and I don’t even have any! Look out for “Body Talk” too. I dunno what happened to that hair band, but they are my long lost dream.
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So anyway, after much persuasion, Eddie as Chandler Jarrell is signed up via the smokin’ hot Kee Nang (Charlotte Lewis)– don’t worry, she is in a wet, white blouse at one point– to find the kidnapped bling-child and save mankind. What ensues is um… Well… See, what happens is… Ah, tuh Hell with it. There’s no way to describe it. It’s just a bunch o’ stuff. There’s a snake lady, an ugly demon, some wonky looking goons, a magic dagger, superhuman strength in sad, sad fight scenes, and a fantasy sequence that includes a live audience. You can definitely feel the gap between the writer’s intention and the execution. It’s gaping. The director didn’t go far enough. The situations, however outrageous, are always blandly glossed over. Ergo, a mistake was made in not contrasting Murphy’s cynicism with even higher doses of the extreme. It reads like a bad joke. The comedy is uneven, the stakes aren’t high, and poor Eddie is just left hanging there– on pedestals sticking out of a bottomless pit, no less. He doesn’t take anything seriously, so neither does the audience. It’s just… weird. If snake lady had passed me some of that opium she was sucking on all day, I may have gotten more out of it. (Rookie mistake).
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Despite the fact that the chain of events holding this thing together are nonexistent– there are heart-to-hearts that don’t fit in, and then Chandler and Kee fall in love, resulting in a very Rambo 2-like vow of vengeance that is more awkward than compelling– I still like this crazy thing for some reason. No, I know the reason. It’s pure nostalgia. I mean, you’ve got all the great character actors of the era here: the pop-eyed Victor Wong as the guru who picks his nose, James Hong as one of the aids in Chandler’s quest, the master of ’80s intimidation Tex Cobb, Pons Maar as the monkey-faced whatever-he-is, Tommy Twong as the evil Chinaman (as per usual), and the natural born killer/ginger Charles Dance as the Devil’s advocate. Charlotte Lewis also holds her own as a stoic, ladylike kick-ass, and then… there’s Eddie. He isn’t allowed too many moments to cut loose with his humor, and when he does it’s not up to its usual standards, but I still believe that every time he opens his mouth, an asshole somewhere dies. He transmits that much joy. He is the chosen one.
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Of course, there is one other finite reason one should adore this movie. If you’re a product of the eighties you will know what I’m talking about without me even having to say it: “I-uh-I-uh-uh-uh-I want the knife!”
This movie should only get a two, but it gets a boost for being Eddiriffic.(Hey, it’s Axl Foley. Shoot me).
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Rating:
3 out of 5 Tibetan Turntables
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