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The Golden Child (1986)

Eddie Murphy is The Chosen One

Directed by:

Michael Ritchie

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

“The Golden Child” is riddled with clichés, boasts no shortage of plot-holes, and doesn't stop far short of being just plain ridiculous. But hey – as long as it's entertaining, who cares, right? I loved this movie as a kid, and I'm not about to go back on that now.

Though slated by the critics upon its' cinema release in 1986, audiences lapped up Eddie Murphy's performance in this mystical romp, his first outing since the massive “Beverly Hills Cop” two years earlier. Murphy plays Chandler Jarrell – who is, to all intents and purposes, Axel Foley with a different job description. He's a wise-cracking (natch) do-gooder who makes a living out of tracking down missing kiddy-winks and helping the police investigate kidnappings.

Jarrell's in for a Hellish time when the beautifully wooden Charlotte Lewis (who used to be in Grange Hill!) turns up and tells him he's “The Chosen One”. Quite a chat-up line, you'll probably agree. Unfortunately, as well as the inevitable rumpy-pumpy, it means he's been “chosen” to traipse across to Tibet and rescue a magical munchkin (J.L. Reate) from a villainous demon who appears, hideously, in the form of Charles Dance. Makes me shiver just thinking about it.

There's an “Axel F”-ish score, some decent special fx, and a woman who's ancestor was raped by a dragon and is now paying the consequences. It's all good fun and, interestingly enough, was released in the same year as “Big Trouble in Little China”. Both movies work along very similar lines, and both also feature James Hong and squint-faced small-fry Victor Wong. But it's “The Golden Child” that works best, predominantly down to Murphy's sheer enthusiasm and comic timing.

It's Got: An indication of what things would be like in a parallel universe where Murphy was chosen to play Indiana Jones.

It Needs: Charles Dance to look a bit more interested. Youd think he wasnt being paid for this, or something.

DVD Extras One particularly rubbish trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Summary

Nowhere near as bad as it's regularly made out to be, and arriving at a time when Murphy was still at his peak, “The Golden Child” makes for fun, easy-going viewing.

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