tek's rating: ½

The Golden Child (PG-13)
IMDb; Paramount; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This came out in 1986. One day in 2017, I happened to see a used copy of a double feature DVD that included this movie and "Harlem Nights." And I was like, "Oh yeah, I completely forgot this existed." And since it was cheap, I decided to buy the DVD. The thing is, I have no idea whether or not I ever saw "The Golden Child" before. I have this vague recollection of one day when I was rather young, being left alone for awhile at the home of a family friend (whom I now haven't seen in many years), and being allowed to watch movies on her Betamax player. And for some time now I've been thinking I probably watched "Big Trouble in Little China" that day, but when I saw this title, I was like... suddenly unsure whether I'd seen that movie, or this one, or maybe both. Or neither. I just don't know. But anyway, now I've seen it for sure. It's not great, and I could well imagine it being seen as offensive to Asian culture. But I don't really know. Mostly it's a comedy, and I did find it somewhat amusing. It's also a fantasy/action movie, and I did think those aspects were reasonably okay. And the special effects were decent, for the time it was made. None of these elements of the movie were great, but... they were okay.

Anyway, Eddie Murphy plays a social worker named Chandler Jarrell, who's currently looking for a missing teenage girl. He's approached by a woman named Kee Nang, who informs him that he's the "Chosen One," part of some ancient prophecy. His destiny is to rescue the Golden Child, a young Tibetan boy with mystical powers, who had been kidnapped by some people who don't want him to fulfill his own destiny of saving the world from evil. The kidnappers are led by a man named Sardo Numspa, who turns out to be a demon. Anyway, Jarrell doesn't believe in any of this "Chosen One" stuff, and thinks Kee is crazy. But eventually he agrees to work with her, when his current case intersects with Kee's interest in finding the Golden Child. (The girl Jarrell had been looking for had turned up dead, but he still wanted to find out who had killed her. And it seems the biker gang that had kidnapped her had sold her to the people who had kidnapped the Golden Child, for a reason I don't even want to get into.) And things get progressively weirder, the closer Jarrell and Kee get to finding the Golden Child. (Well, maybe I shouldn't say progressively weirder; things were pretty weird from start to finish, in so many different ways.) Of course, throughout it all, Jarrell maintains a very Eddie Murphy-ish sense of humor (which is hardly surprising). And he and Kee develop feelings for each other, though that subplot really seemed ridiculous, the kind of thing that only happens in movies because it's an expected trope.

And I dunno what else to tell you. It was kind of fun, especially the sort-of-dream sequence Jarrell has at one point. And while the Golden Child seems to be a fantasy version of the Dalai Lama, I was reminded more of the Avatar (but, you know, with very different powers than bending). And... I liked Charlotte Lewis, who played Kee. (Looking at IMDb, it seems I've seen her in a couple other things, but nothing I specifically remembered her from, which is a shame.)


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