The Golden Child
Colony Theatre, Raleigh
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
Kick-off for the Colony’s new ’80s film series

Do you ever feel old realizing a film from 1986 is now 20 years old? One of those films so damn ridiculous that you just have to sit back and enjoy it, The Golden Child remains one of the quirkier entries on Eddie Murphy’s résumé. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the comedy-adventure directed by Fletch‘s Michael Ritchie will screen at the Colony on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. to kick off the Colony’s new ’80s film series. Proceeds from the screening will go to Kadampa Center, a Tibetan Buddhist community based in Raleigh that is in need of a new meeting space, according to the Colony’s Denver Hill.

Reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (Victor Wong, Egg Shen from that film, co-stars, and according to, Carpenter was offered the chance to direct), the plot stars Murphy as Chandler Jarrell, a finder of lost children hired to protect a Buddhist child targeted by an evil sorcerer. The script by Dennis Feldman (Just One of the Guys) was originally intended as a serious adventure story … until Mel Gibson turned down the lead and Murphy stepped in.

The resulting rewrite applies Murphy’s trademark smartass perspective to an over-the-top adventure story (told it’s the Golden Child’s destiny to save the world, Murphy’s response is, “Mmm, that’s a good destiny”). One of the few films that can combine a sacred bird and a quest to save the world from Satan with riffs on Ed McMahon and porno magazines, The Golden Child is a supremely goofy fusion of ’80s special effects flicks with ’80s Eddie Murphy sarcasm. Does it make much sense? No, but it’s infinitely more fun than most of Murphy’s recent comedies. Before Murphy goes serious in Dreamgirls, give The Golden Child a look to remember a more innocent time, when Eddie Murphy was naughtier.