The Barefoot Kid (1993)

Directed by
Fine but nothing special
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-02-05

This remake of Disciples of Shaolin takes the basic setup but changes enough details to be its own story. Aaron Kwok doesn't have Fu Sheng's swagger but he is surprisingly limber for a singer.

Despite being a remake of a Chang Cheh film with Lau Kar-Leung serving as action director and a prominent role for Ti Lung... and being in Arrow Video's Shawscope Vol. 2... this is not a Shaw Brothers film, it was a Cosmopolitan Films production that Celestial acquired and slapped the Shaw Brothers logo on.

The Barefoot Kid feels more like a 1993 film than a Shaw Brothers film in most respects - it has some particularly strong similarities to Jet Li's Fong Sai Yuk (another character often played by Fu Sheng 🤔).

This is clearly Johnnie To in "Director For Hire" mode, as was generally the case before 1995. There's not much of Lau Kar-Leung's stamp on the action either, which is much more heavily edited than he usually liked and uses plenty of wires and undercranking.

This film was kind of a classic in the VHS era but it doesn't hold up all that well now. It's... fine, there just isn't really anything there that wasn't done better elsewhere.