The Bare-Footed Kid (1993)

Posted in Reviews by - February 27, 2017
The Bare-Footed Kid (1993)

A remake of Chang Cheh‘s 1975 film Disciples of Shaolin with fight choreography by Shaw Brothers legend Lau Kar-leung. This is a breezy, almost polite, kung fu yarn with a potent message about the corrupting influence of money and power, and how it can jeopardise friendships, charity and compassion. All of the performances are top dollar, unlike the film’s flimsy and limited choice of sets. Cantopop singer Aaron Kwok is convincing in the Fu Sheng role as a sprightly yet destitute orphan boy with profound kung fu capability. He is adopted into Maggie Cheung’s philanthropic dye factory, where she provides food, work and shelter for the homeless. This includes another Shaw Brothers legend, Ti Lung, who does a brilliant turn as a retired fighter trying to woo the effervescent Cheung, only to be dragged back into conflict when a wealthy, corrupt Manchu magistrate sets his eyes on buying the factory. There’s plenty of moments for Lau Kar-leung to show off his playful choreography, with Kwok the benefactor of a number of sterling barefoot showdowns. It ends in an absolute bloodbath, which seems at odds with the film’s general lightness in tone.

AKA: The Barefoot Kid; Young Hero.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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