|Index||5 reviews in total|
I wonder why so many people mention only Chow Yun-fat among the actors in [A
Better Tomorrow] in talking about the film. I love him, too, but the focus
of ABT is Sung Tse-ho played wonderfully by Ti Lung. ABT was my first Ti
Lung experience, and since then I wish I had a chance to see the martial
art films of 70's in which he had starred. I haven't had such a luck yet,
but I found [Barefooted Kid] a good treat. Though Lung plays a supporting
role, you can fully taste of his noble warrior appeal in this. Great. And
Maggie Cheung is even greater. She portrays a warm-hearted (treats the
barefooted kid very kindly), beautiful (yes, Maggie is beautiful), brave
(neither surrenders to the greedy local strong man, nor fears loving Lung's
character being a widow in those old days), and wise (disperses a bunch of
beggars troubling a bride, by scattering the coins) character brilliantly.
Lung and Maggie work beautifully together in the most impressive scenes -- meeting up on a full moon night, collecting the stone dust in rain, walking on a street in the rainy evening. Above all, it's a love story (for me, at least). Aaron Kwok and Wu Chien-lien form a charming couple also. And it is nice surprise to see Kenneth Tsang (who played Danny Lee's sidekick cop in [The Killer] and the taxi company owner in ABT) play a pure villain. Plus, it has good action sequences -- nothing new, but neat, enjoyable movie.
Aaron Kwok is great as the Barefooted Kid. He is a great martial artist, but doesn't know the rules of life. This he will learn from his uncle and a very kind woman who gives him shelter. This uncle is played by Ti Lung, who is even a greater martial artist and has some great scenes where he shows his talents. The story is very melodramatic, which doesn't have to be annoying. I personally like melodrama at some occassions. But if you don't like melodrama you can skip to the action sequences because that is why this movie is made in the first place. The action sequences are divine to watch. They are far superior to the scenes shown in the Matrix. Which prooves, that digital effects are not needed to create explosive wireworks! If there is one typical HK martial arts movie you have to watch then it's this one.
Although the central themes of the Barefoot Kid are hardly original by
kung-fu cinema standards - doomed love, coming of age and redemption -
are delicately and effectively handled to produce a result which is by
charming, exciting and funny. Similarly, although the structure of the
action sequences is rarely ground-breaking, superb choreography, clever
camera work and a standout performance from Aaron Kwok elevate them well
above the ordinary.
To a veteran of Kung Fu films, The Barefoot Kid would appear rather pedestrian and certainly nothing exceptional, but for a beginner, its simple but strong themes, crisp cinematography and whipcrack action performances make it a uniquely accessible and hugely enjoyable ride.
Brilliant kung-fu scenes, loads of melodrama, peculiar footwear symbolism
and an unhappy (?) end makes Barefoot Kid an unforgettable
One of the silliest subtitles I've seen...
Johnny To has recently become the critic's HK director to tout. He
certainly has a stylistic flair for gangster movies but I am not
familiar with his martial art films so this was a treat.
In terms of story, the movie is certainly a throwback to the HK films of the seventies. An illiterate young man travels to a town to find the best friend of his recently deceased father. He wants to retrieve a prized possession of his father's that the friend is holding on to. He finds the man (Ti Lung) working at a cloth factory that's being harassed by the local crime boss. We meet the owner of the factory, a beautiful widow. The young man also meets a beautiful young woman who's a teacher so he decides to have her teach him how to spell his name. Of course the young man is thrust into the middle of a conflict.
The story is played with a comic touch that carries the film for most of the way until the end which is quite serious. For me, what didn't work is how the exaggerated, wide angle, cartoony film technique was really unsuited for the end of the film. The action is very sped up during some tragic scenes. I started watching HK kung fu films during the end of the Shaw era and I've never warmed up to the kung fu film style of the 1990's. Too many cuts (move, move, cut, move, cut, punch, punch, cut) and too many sloppily composed action scenes. It seems every film had to have a scene with the hero running on the heads and shoulders of a crowd. IN Johnny To's defense, he seems to do an average of 4 films a year and that's not enough time to really make a great fight scene.
If you like 90's style HK action, this is a good film. For aficionado's of classic Shaw, this might not be that exciting.
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