Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-nine - The Golden Child, "Actually, pretty quality for a generic 80's action movie."

Back when I was an Army Brat, living in quarters on Ft.McPherson in the 80's and early 90's, there wasn't much in the way of quality entertainment either on television or VHS cassette that my parents would let me consume that wasn't Disney or have a G or PG rating.

The Golden Child definitely stretched the limits of what my parents would allow me to check out from the base's library, seeing as how stuff like Lethal Weapon and Apocalypse Now were off the table unless I was visiting a friend with more, shall we say, permissive parents (you know, the kind with barely hidden stacks of Playboys and the like).

That's not to say The Golden Child was all that violent or explicit. Really, I think it only got it's PG-13 rating due to Eddie Murphy's occasionally foul mouth, but it wasn't to the level of, say, Beverley Hills Cop or anything... and certainly not as bad as Delirious.

To be honest, TGC is actually a rather harmless generic adventure tale, mixing a mild amount of Murphy's usual 80's, street-smart player with a heart of gold with a cheesy Buddhist mysticism tale where the titular Golden Child is kidnapped by vague demonic forces for the purposes of unleashing Hell on Earth.

I actually kind of like it. Sure, it's not to the pulpy comic level of Big Trouble in Little China as either a star vehicle or Asian-American mythos trope, but it's not all that bad.

For one thing, it has several Chinese-American stars that I'm always happy to see (Victor Wong and James Hong), and even though it keeps true to the trope of generic white-guy villain, it has a few interesting choices when it comes to minions... like Pons Maar as a sort of evil Son Goku and Randall Cobb as a dim sort of Mongul warrior.

I was a bit disappointed that Peter Kwong had a minimal role... it had been forever since I saw The Golden Child so, when I saw him pop up in the cold opener, I was expecting a more fleshed out minion role like his turn as Rain in Big Trouble. No such luck, however.

Additionally, the stop-motion demon form of Sardo Numspa (who is played in its human guise by Jeffrey Jones's British doppleganger, Charles Dance), was pretty rough considering the standards set forth by higher tier films like Ghostbusters and the like.

Still, despite the meh characterization for Murphy's social worker, Chandler, and the flimsy romance with his female guide/partner, Kee Nang (played by Charlotte Lewis), it works fairly decently for what it is... a generic 80's action flick.

It did win any awards (and, heck, was barely nominated for any small prizes), and rightly shouldn't have... but it was still an alright flick that fits as a lazy Saturday afternoon matinee.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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