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Trading Places and The Golden Child Paramount Presents Blu-ray Reviews

“Trading Places” remains a relevant comedy.

“The Golden Child” is a failed fantasy experiment.

Trading Places

In 1983’s “Trading Places,” rich, snobby commodities brokerage firm owners/brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke make a bet/scientific experiment that a broke con man (Billy Ray) can run the company as well as the wealthy firm manager (Louis) and that Louis would resort to crime to survive. As a result of the bet, Billy Ray finds himself suddenly living the high life while Louis is purposefully disgraced and thrown out onto the street. Eventually, Louis and Billy Ray find out they are being played and decide to exact their revenge with the help of a prostitute (Ophelia) and a butler (Coleman).

Directed by John Landis, “Trading Places” is a holiday movie, an 80’s spin on “The Prince And The Pauper” and a poignant R-rated comedy about capitalism (and its absurdity), inequality, racism, insider trading, Wall Street and the class system. Even though it was made 37 years ago now, the comedy sadly shows its relevancy as some things never change. 

Of course, the movie is a comedy and there’s no shortage of laughs here as both Eddie Murphy (Billy Ray) and Dan Akroyd (Louis) equally shine in their respective roles. I appreciated that no one outshined the other here as both actors had hilarious bits such as Louis stuffing food into his Santa costume and Murphy’s frequent one-liners. Not all of the jokes land though as there are some derogatory bits and a shameful black face sequence. I could also do without the goofy gorilla scenes.

Murphy and Akroyd aren’t the only stars here though as Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott (in a scene stealing role as Coleman), Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy, Frank Oz, James Belushi, Al Franken, Paul Gleason,  and a young Giancarlo Esposito are all memorable in roles of varying degree.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? A nice crisp and colorful upgrade.

Audio Track: Dolby TrueHD 5.1. How does it sound? The 5.1 track gets a thumbs up from this reviewer.

* Digital copy
* Deleted scene with optional commentary by George Folsey Jr.
* “Insider Trading: The Making Of Trading Places.”
* Theatrical trailer and industry promotional piece.
* The new extra “Filmmaker Focus: John Landis On Trading Places”
* Featurettes titled “Dressing The Part,” “The Trade In Trading Places” and “Trading Stories.”

The Golden Child

3 years after “Trading Places,” Eddie Murphy stars in a dark fantasy comedy in 1986’s “The Golden Child.” In this adventure, Murphy stars as Chandler, a kind hearted social worker who looks for missing children. Chandler finds his life turned upside down when a woman named Kee Nang says he is the chosen one who is destined to find the magical power golden child who has been kidnapped by the evil Sardo (who is not what he seems). Even though Chandler is skeptical about everything, he soon learns the truth on his wild quest to save the child and perhaps the world.

Eddie Murphy as a fantasy hero? Yes, this actually happened back in 1986 in the high concept, supernatural, Asian influenced “The Golden Child” (which bears more than a few resemblances to the infinitely superior “Big Trouble In Little China”). Eddie Murphy is no stranger to taking cinematic risks ala “The Adventures Of Pluto Nash,” but like that flop, this one falls flat. On paper, this PG-13 fare has all the earmarks of a fun fantasy flick with a good and evil storyline, a chosen one, an amulet, an other worldly dagger, magical powers, martial arts, mysticism, and creatures, but the Michael Ritchie directed film never takes flight. Due to the script by Dennis Feldman, “The Golden Child” feels like a rushed, anticlimactic tale with tired jokes that land with a thud, and a main character (Chandler) who is far too much like Axel Foley. The atrocious out of place score by Michel Colombier doesn’t help matters either. I can see some folks having a nostalgia for this 80’s films, but other than that, it’s not a memorable Murphy vehicle.

The only saving graces here are Charlotte Lewis (the butt kicking Kee Nang) and Charles Dance as the villainous Sardo.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The film has been remastered from a 4K film transfer and the result is a quality transfer.

Audio Track: Dolby TrueHD 5.1. How does it sound? The 5.1 track does the job.

* Theatrical trailer
* Digital copy
* “The Making Of The Golden Child”- A 2 part extra with interviews, character and story discussions, set footage, a set tour, and more.

December 16, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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