Chandler Jarrell portrayed by Golden Globe winner Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop) is a private investigator. His specialty is finding lost children. At the start of the film, something transpires, which will require Jarrell’s services.
In a temple located in Tibet, a group of Buddhist mystics are observing the supernatural abilities of a small boy known as The Golden Child (J.L. Reate). After he mesmerizes those gathered, by bringing a dead bird back to life, the temple is attacked. Sardo Numspa, played by three time Emmy nominee Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), has the boy kidnapped. He warns his men, as they are transporting him, not to let the Golden Child touch them, because a touch from the boy makes bad men do good things. Numspa’s ultimate goal is to use the child’s power to serve extreme evil.
While watching a local Los Angeles television show, Jarrell’s services are brought to the attention of Kee Nang (Charlotte Lewis). She has been sent in pursuit of the men who took the Golden Child. When Nang approaches Jarrell, she holds nothing back. She is insistent that Jarrell is the chosen one who needs to retrieve the Golden Child from the forces of darkness, in order to save mankind. Murphy’s character, is naturally dismissive upon first hearing such a fantastical story. He feels Nang’s story is full of fabrications and he dismisses it as such, but for reasons I won’t list, in consideration of those of you who might want to see the film, he will soon change his mind.
The movie from that moment forward shifts back and forth between Tibet and Los Angeles. Jarrell is faced with numerous obstacles on the way to attempting to get the boy back for his people. There are plenty of bad guys for him to do battle with. He is also tasked with finding a magic dagger, the importance of which is vital if he wants to thwart those trying to exploit the child. Can Jarrell retrieve the dagger, and rescue the boy from his captivity, therefore making sure good will triumph?
Trivia buffs take note: The film was originally intended to be an adventure film. When Eddie Murphy signed on to star in the movie, parts of the script were rewritten to include a number of comedic moments. Murphy wanted Oscar and BAFTA winner George Miller (Happy Feet) to direct, but the director turned the film down after Murphy kept him waiting at an initial meeting for approximately four hours. Eddie Murphy is a big Star Trek fan, and although, it hurt him to do so, he turned down a part in “Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home” in order to star in “The Golden Child.” Director John Carpenter (Halloween) turned down an opportunity to direct the film. Wrestling fans might recognize Tiger Chung Lee, who had a minor role in the movie.
“The Golden Child” was directed by Emmy nominee Michael Ritchie (Fletch). The screenplay was written by Dennis Feldman (Species). The film was released on December 12, 1986. Parts action, adventure, comedy, fantasy and mystery, the movie has a runtime of 94 minutes.
“The Golden Child” was the only Eddie Murphy film from back when he was considered to be in his prime, that I hadn’t yet seen. I have heard both good and bad things about the movie; some people really liked it, while others loathed it. For my own take, I felt the special effects look too dated and in certain scenes they did more to detract from what was overall a good story. The other problem I had with the film was that it tried to inject too many genres into it. I think had the movie been kept as an adventure film, with Eddie Murphy playing against type at the time, the film would have performed just as well or better at the box office. The filmmakers and the producers took the safe route with the money invested in the film, and that is certainly understandable, but it would’ve been interesting to see what the film could have been had a creative chance been taken. Murphy is a good actor and very talented in general. I am sure he could have pulled it off playing against type.