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Charlie is the intended murder victim here, and he avoids death only by chance. To find the murderer (since, of course, murder does occur), Charlie must outguess Scotland Yard and New York City police.
John G. Blystone
Famous detective Charlie Chan is called out of retirement to help a San Francisco detective solve a mysterious series of murders. With his bumbling grandson as his sidekick, Chan also encounters an old nemesis known as the Dragon Queen who is the prime suspect. Written by
100% awful...there is NOTHING positive I can say about this film...nothing!
This film begins with an awful introduction--with a song that just sucks. Little did I know that after this it only got worse!! I am not exaggerating when I say this film is 100% bad--with absolutely nothing to recommend it--nothing! And, if it were possible, I'd give a score lower than 1 because unlike the average bad movie, this one is so gosh-darn annoying! The film is supposed to be a parody of the Charlie Chan films. Now this idea COULD have worked--after all "Murder By Death" was all silly low-brow fun. But, unfortunately, the film never works thanks to ineptitude in every way. The director was apparently a chimp--who loved to instruct the 'actors' to over-act, fall down a lot and do pratfalls. The writer did not appear to have even watched any of the Charlie Chan film--as it never had any inside jokes or laughs. The producer was not even stupid (that would be an improvement), as they cast Richard Hatch (from "Battlestar Gallactica") as a half-Chinese grandson of Charlie Chan!!! And as far as the acting goes, I expected nothing form Hatch (and got it) and Michelle Pfeiffer is young so she can't be blamed. But, Lee Grant, Roddy McDowell and Peter Ustinov (an Oscar-winner!!) are just awful and should have known better. What possessed them?! All of the 'actors' behaved broadly--falling down, bumping things and just appearing like amateurs in bad community theater.
I notice one reviewer gave this film a 10. I just don't know what to say about this...all I know is I wouldn't even show this film to my worst enemy!! If karma and reincarnation are true, those who made this movie should all come back in their next lives as dung beetles.
By the way, although it didn't change my opinion about the movie overall (it couldn't be any worse), I was irritated to no end about the character played by Brian Keith. All he seemed to do was curse--and in ways that are bound to offend anyone who is the least bit religious. Is this supposed to be funny?! I am sure this would offend many out there and shows a complete lack of sensitivity towards the audience and their values. Now I am NOT saying that films must be sanitized--but this was ALL that Keith's character did and as a 'joke' it was of very questionable value and taste.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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