Saturday, December 1, 2012
The Golden Child (1986)
The Golden Child is an action/comedy/fantasy about Chandler Jarrell, a social worker who is hired to rescue a kid with mystical powers known as "the golden child" from the evil demon from hell Sardo Numspa (Charles Dance). Apparently it was initially supposed to be a more serious piece starring Mel Gibson but it ended up being a comedy with plenty of improv from Murphy. This is probably for the best since it works far better just going for comedy than it does in the moments where it tries to be serious.
The film is a gloriously silly, cheesy roller coaster ride with Murphy in firm control the entire way, mugging and ad-libbing endlessly as he goes from the rough streets of Los Angeles to the mountains of Tibet. Performances are generally what they need to be with Charles Dance making an entertaining villain and Charlotte Lewis performing ably as the token love interest.
Most entertaining for me is the presence of character actors James Hong and Victor Wong in supporting roles. Both men are very solid actors and in an amusing coincidence, both appeared in Big Trouble in Little China the same year.
ILM also provides some good f/x work (in addition to being co-producers on the project) with a really good demon that Charles Dance turns into and some other typically good stuff.
The success of the movie is all thanks to Murphy who, as I said earlier, delivers a funny and energetic performance that helps the movie get through the rather cheesy and predictable plot. It's not a great movie by any means, but it's certainly a fun one.