Thursday, February 18, 2016

Golden Child

I have a lot to say about this film, since it's one I grew up with and one that brought me over to the Sci-Fi side of media. This was one of three films that were always on TV, the first was Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Though this was a popular time for Eddie Murphy, he was a comedy star in the 80's into the 90's, but slowly he was falling from grace, staring in films that weren't reflective of his humor. Despite his ups and downs in media he's been a figure of talent and comedic competence throughout his career, inspiring other comedians and parody. So let's jump into the film that got me interested in the actor and the genre that gives me joy.

Initial response to the cover, it's your classic hero on the cover showing that he's fun, funny, and confident enough to take on anyone. Honestly this was Eddie Murphy's thing. Looking at most of his films in the 80's it's his bust on the poster, giving people assurance that he'll not only be in the film, but be the main protagonist. This cover is no different, he's this fella (most of the 80's he's been a cop, I don't think this is any different) that is dressed in modern day clothes (of the 80's) between Tibet (mostly since that's where the film opens, though if I had to guess it was vague Asia) and Beverly Hills (mostly because of  the palm trees, though that's the film he's known for during this generation). This doesn't really tell us much about the film, mostly that it's about a child (that's not on the poster) and Eddie Murphy's the one (assuming). So by that it's an action comedy, I'm guessing, that will involve Eddie Murphy globe hopping from North America to the Far East (Hollywood during the 80's was big on China, though also huge on racism). Anyhow, let's start the film, well unpause the movie, I jumped the gun, though my movie froze, so let's call it even.

We open to present day Tibet, so 1980's Tibet, still we're seeing the inner sanctum of the peaceful world, a world that's created outside of technology and a lot of personal vendettas. Getting a good look outside, as the most 80's music jams out, if you didn't know it was an 80's movie, oh you know now! The bad guys appear in the flick before the hero, it's a man that has a patch, though doesn't wear it, also two good sword as he has two good eyes., a large white man, and a cage. Then we see a boy watching a puppet show, some of the monks come to him for something, we pan back from the boy sitting on a table in front of all the monks of the temple, they give him a hat.

Back to the outside, we see more of the villains in the snow, they still have a cage.

The monks give the boy a necklece, he chooses the necklace that the monk offering him a sheet full's and they all mutter to each other. It's a vague simile to the Dalai Lama selection test.

We're back outside, the bad guys kill a guy, it's a thing. Now inside!

Okay, whoever the guy is that made this film really has no idea how to make a movie, it's neat to see the dynamics of each side (good and evil), though it's mostly done well when the events are similar to each other. Then it shows that we have our own chores and traditions, but so does the other side of the coin. This just feels like a juxtaposition of the other, it's a dichotomy of the two, not a symbol of them being one. Pretty much, I'd rather stick with one story happening rather than flipping back and forth like an impatient person with a remote control that can't find anything to watch, but still sticks to a channel long enough that you find interest.

The monks give the boy two dead bird, sorry three dead bird, no four, well he gave life back to one of them, so it's three again. Then the bad guys attack the monks. An ominous white man walks into the temple, violence and destruction flies from one wall to the other, as this stoic man waltzes to the boy. They look intimately into each other's eyes, then the cage comes into play, the boy makes no movement and lets the bad guys take him. Then we see that the boy can make anyone pure with one touch, with a single bit of contact the boy creates a protector from the bad men and he is killed on sight. We also see that the white man is magic of some sort, that he's powerful enough to rival the boy or at the least defend against harm. So quick analysis, Magic is the most powerful thing in the world, it's real, and secret. Not sure why, not sure when it will show up again, though magic is not for the public to know about, nor explored further than these two people.

Bad guys are done here and take the boy out of the temple, the white guy watches as we see the one bird that the boy touched fly off into the snow, this tropical bird, which is confusing why the monks would have it in the first place, flies into the blizzard of the mountain side, for help I'm guessing, since now it's magic(?) I'm assuming that it's enchanted and not normal anymore. So the boy, again assuming, he's seen defeat and now holds all of his hope in this one bird to free him from this cage.

We're now in America, it seems that someone in Tibet would be useless against all these bad guys, so we move half-way around the world to find our hero. And boy does this movie show that this is America, it's so America, American flags everywhere. We see the title of the film and Eddie Murphy, as he reads over the shoulder of a glasses wearing suit, giggles to himself since the man was reading "Chunky Asses Magazine", also we're in Hollywood. Chandler is his name, he's looking for a lost child. Now on a TV show with a host that's not really caring what Chandler is saying, he reminds me of Jeff Goldblum, well a parody of Jeff Goldblum, like a poor man's parody on seeing a horrible impression of Jeff Goldblum.

Professor Steeping isn't having it with Donkey,
though Gom knows feeding a mouth gives it better function than unwanted words.

We see a woman (Kee Nang played by Charlotte Lewis), writing things, while watching the show that Chandler's on. She hears his passion for looking for lost children and we cut to kids playing basketball. Chandler seems to be great with the kids, as we see the woman from the last scene, he starts to talk to her since the ball bounced in her direction. It's a little weird that she was just there at the right time, though it's interesting that she appeared and wants to get his help on finding someone in Tibet. It's a humorous interaction between the two, though surreal since Chandler is the Golden Child's Guardian Angel. He makes a joint joke and thinks she's crazy, he's a bit blunt with his dismissal of her and his assistance with finding the Golden Child, it's about 20 minutes to four by the look of the Sun.

Chandler finds the girl he's been looking for, she's dead and the Detective (that we'll never see again) starts to give us exposition. There's Tibetan writing all over the walls. The Woman from before is outside, the music is something vaguely Asian, not sure why, also the rice pot bleeds as Chandler moves the rice around. Chandler spots the woman again following him and confronts her, though she's gone. Appears out of nowhere, so they have coffee at a dinner. Though most of this film Chandler is trying to piece this whole thing together, but he's not understanding any of this. Also it was blood in the oatmeal, why are they feeding the kid blood is a good question. This film keeps going back and forth between it being a mystery film and a comedy, it feels like a bunch of people were writing this then jumped ship and let it to this director. That's why there's a lot of hopping around from scene to scene, popping into plot, though not really focusing on one point.

James Hong! James Hong was in this film, sorry I saw this movie as a kid, I always knew that Eddie Murphy was in it, but I didn't know that James Hong was a member of the cast!! I really love James Hong's career and his skilled ability to be in any film and not call it in, a professional actor in every movie.

Then we move to the basement, there's a woman behind a screen, James Hong (since he doesn't have a character name, later in the credits "Doctor Hong") encourages Chandler to talk with this woman in his basement. It's not creepy (till she speaks), since he seems to have her there by choice, not by force, there's nothing that could stop her or the people in that room from her leaving. This is the hardest part in the movie, it's been almost 20 minutes and there's nothing we know about the Golden Child from the point of view of Chandler. It would have been more interesting to have the whole Monk fight at this moment, the mysterious smoking woman telling our hero about the Golden Child and the vision she had of what happened during his capture. It would leave a bit of doubt in our minds to what happened and it would bring more reputable support to the reveal of what this woman is (I remember some things about the movie, she's) a Nāga. We get more explanations of the importance of his journey to find the Child. The reason to why they want him to eat blood was because anything not from this world will pollute him. Also the Golden Child is your classic, this boy is the one that will save us all, all hail the king!, story.

Chandler isn't following, he doesn't care, and since the boy can't be killed by traditional means, so they need to weaken him before he'll be able to die. Then he hits on her, James Hong calms her down. Chandler is the Chosen one… who needs to find the chosen one… wow, this is a plot for the ages!

The day ends and we see Eddie Murphy hit on the woman he's been spending the day with. He fails horribly at convincing her into his home for a midnight horizontal dance. Then we cut to a building, three monks are sitting around the Golden Child, there's food within arm's length, a bad guy shoots pebbles at him and fails to attack the kid. The food is implied to have blood in it. Then the Child brings a Pepsi can to life, entertaining the simple caretaker with a dancing can, till the evil white man stomps the act. Claiming the child will eat. While the bad guy is gone the Golden Child flips the dish and eats plants to stay alive and well. One thing that's been bothering me is when did that come to America, or why did they need to come to America, since it would be a lot easier to kill the Golden Child in Tibet. One major reason is that the Guardian of the Child is in America. Some how Chandler finds out about the Yellow Dragons.

The Yellow Dragons, reminds me of the Purple Dragons, I guess the writer liked the TMNT, since they're a gang too.

It's the next morning and Eddie Murphy is cocked and ready to blast off some heads in this bar. The gang took him out, stopped him in his tracks, then the woman comes in and starts taking out the gang, one by one, though for some reason that have her do the whole wet t-shirt thing. Eddie Murphy gets in the act too and takes out four fellas. These guys are total jerks, they sold the young girl that Eddie Murphy was looking for, they traded her to a guy that was doing stuff for the Devil.

Chandler goes to the restaurant that the Gang members sold the girl at, and asks for Tommy Tom (this is an old stereotype, it's common that Chinese names repeat themselves, kinda like you'll meet a David in every language). Chandler starts getting aggressive and Tommy starts attacking Chandler with swords from Mortal Kombat, yeah it's Kabal's Hook swords (Hu Tou Gou or Qian Kun Ri Yue Dao). Side Note all the guys at the Chinese food restaurant were eating pizza (now I want pizza).

Tommy gets away, then is met by his Master and killed with the same weapons that he attacked. Chandler is dumbfounded to find him dead stumbles with some ad-lib or faux ad-libbing. We found out that there's an implication that we're dealing with demons. It's interesting that the film is mixing Christian mythology and Asian Mythology (I'm saying Asian, since it's not directly one religious practice). The Demon praying to his master (I'm assuming Satan) takes me back to the movie Spawn, though this came before it. Also the voice sounds like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget (Frank Welker did the voice), it's all a horrible and beautiful sight, it's an unforgivable horror that is the next world for those that have evil in their hearts, its a really good version of what's the worst in the world to come.

Tea Steeping likes the uniform of M.A.D.
though she's still wrapping her head around the health plan,
this might just be a seasonal job.

We cut back to Chandler, who's getting ready for bed, the woman is (still nameless) in her car outside, then we see the evil white guy breath, then we're in a dream state, a mind space that is between him and Chandler. They start to converse and the evil white guy tries to temp Murphy, though he doesn't want to have any. Then the dream goes straight into sex mode, well, into "romance" mode, having the woman tied up and ready to be saved by our hero as she kisses him and waits for him to save her, from her toilet paper doom. Then the dream just ends bizarrely, not really bad nor good, just awkward.

With a bad dream in mind they go back to see the snake lady librarian in the basement at Doctor Hong's for information, more talk about the dagger. The only weapon to kill the Golden Child, and only the chosen one can gain the knife and save the chosen one. Eddie Murphy isn't having any of this and starts ad-libbing, about having to go to Tibet. It seems that Chandler finally gets the lady to come to his house, not sure if they slept with each other, though there are some implications that they have been fooling around, based on their costumes and him making coffee and breakfast for her. Though this is an 80's film that's rated PG-13, so implications are made, but nothing is solidified, but is resolved at the end.

Classic plane ride, well classic 80's plane ride, not much air and tons of smokers, it's something that was more common when I was growing up, though it's been eradicated in today's world. Chandler and the woman are in Tibet, they're wearing the culture's clothes and start their search through the streets to find information or the dagger it's self. Murphy sees the bird from his house in America, unsure if it's the same bird, but starts to follow the flying impossibility. Then we see Grandpa (VIctor Wong) from 3 Ninjas, a wonderful actor, not his greatest role, though it's wonderful to see him in films. He stole from Chandler and disappeared, not sure why, though it totally has something to do with the necklace. Why the director or writer chose to do it in this matter is beyond me, it was cute, but weird.

Beautiful landscapes of Tibet, it's gorgeous and mystic, like something unknown though seen. Anyhow more 80's music plays and we're back at the monk temple in the beginning of the film. The old man is one of the head monks of the room. They start playing the metal bowl and spinning the pole by the door, the old man doesn't want the woman, but the Chosen one to ask for the dagger to save the Chosen one with the dagger. Then Chandler is sent into an unknown trap, a test of will and mind, as he enters the cavern with a glass of water in hand.  This is the part of the film that I remember the most, it's all the pillars and Murphy jumping from one to the other. He flips a coin to hear it drop and nothing sounds, no sound comes to ears. The dagger is in plain view, he's reminded that he needs to stay on the path, that his success is  in this direction. None have passed this test, it's an impossible task, except for the Chosen one that protects the Chosen One. He bests the test and has the dagger, believing in himself and the journey ahead. Then the movie focuses directly toward the romance side of things, it's not really in the spirit of the film, it kinda comes out of nowhere, though it's enough that it makes sense. I'm not sure why it's here since it's a film about finding a child, though this emotional scene is well acted and written, I'd love to have this in a film that makes sense within.

Now we're back in America, with a beautiful scene of Eddie Murphy and the Evil White Guy have a wonderful scene together. It's interesting how the negotiation between them unfolded, it was quite well put and realized between the performers. Chandler checks the knife and the woman asks if he'd like to come to bed, he says he'd like to just not now, even though she was full on wanting to be with him in conceptual harmony. She's confused about her feelings and his choice. Then the guards are being killed off, her outfit is wonderful, it's a shirt that is revealing, but not, it's like a mini-nightshirt, covers one's body, but not a chain mail bikini. Then since she's Asian, she knows martial arts, it seems that Tibetan monks and Shaolin Monks are close enough, though this is the 80's, we're just lucky that she's not a Kunoichi or Samurai.

The woman is too much for the villains as she requests that Chandler runs, as the Evil White Guy lines up the shot. He had plenty of time to kill him, but chose to attack our hero when she finished her flips in front of him. Then we cut to James Hong's shop with the snake librarian. Chandler has had enough with this smoke and mirrors stuff and throws the barrier between them away. He stands and see the true form of the snake woman.

Sardo seems to be the name of the Evil White Guy, he can't kill the Golden Child till dark. Chandler is on a race to find the kid  before it's too late. So he follows the bird to a house and starts braking into it… since the bird suggested the option… I guess, anyhow it's the place that he's been looking for, though the kid isn't anywhere to be found. Though danger is in the halls, till the big henchman helps and stops them, more or less, till the Evil White Guy decides to show his true form. His head explodes and turns into a demon, something from hell for sure, though this whole magic thing is just happening left and right. I would have liked it to have more mystery so the build up to this great battle between good and evil means something. Anyhow they're chased to a building by this winged hellion, looks like it was meant for grain or irrigation, but hasn't been used for that in years. Eddie Murphy fights the demon, his heroic antics have lead up to this stop motion battle of wits and strength as the building comes undone on top of the demon from Hell.

They get back into the car and hot foot it over to the snake lady's house, not sure why he chose to go here, though it's the right choice since the Golden Child can bring Kee Nanga back to life. As they stand before his love, the demon pops out of the ground, suddenly without a means of anything to qualify that he knew where they'd be. Then the fight continues, the demon worse for wear and the dagger in hand. Anger in the eyes of the hellspawn as he lunges to kill Chandler, though the knife is knocked from hand (he's big enough that it seems he'd be able to kill Chandler, I mean he just burst through solid concrete). The golden child sends the knife back to Chandler, while the demon looks for both the child and the knife. Chandler pierces the heart of the beast and he explodes, as do monsters do (Kamen Rider and Super Sentai can give reputable truth to this). After the demon is gone, no words between the titular character and the star of the film, though they bring back the dead love interest and cut to an epilogue. The movie ends with ad-libbing from Eddie Murphy, it's a cute way to end the film, though it doesn't have any place in the film, since it's about the Child and what saving his life means to the world as a whole.

Still one of my favorite movies, it's one of my top B-Movie favorites, from the acting to the plot to the special effects, it's just all around a good bad movie. One that you can watch over and over again and still not get bored of it, since there's something new to either love about it or make fun of it. The 80's was a weird time for flicks, but still a wonderful time for films to be imaginative and original, something that today seems to be missing. If you're like me you wanted there to be more, there should have been another film or TV pilot, but here we are, the credits are rolling and it's 30 years later. If there was a movie I'd love to see a reboot of or a sequel it would be the Golden Child.

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