fulci420’s review published on Letterboxd:
Got a sudden drunken desire to pull out this dvd last night. When I first got into the movies of John Woo I found this one to be a slight disappointment. The action that was there was incredible but it was surrounded by a whole lot of melodrama and weird comedy. This time around I had a great time throughout, just taking in Woo's already pitch perfect action direction, incredible score and memorable performances.
As much as I love Hard Boiled it did set the blueprint for a kind of action movie that is pretty much an endless bloodbath, here in 86 we get a more expansive experience. We follow these characters over years, as they get in trouble, lose family members and even simple details like where they work is included. I really got into it this time around with little expectation for non stop action I really took in all of the drama especially between the estranged brothers that makes up the core conflict of this movie.
I think a lot of people just assume that Chow Yun Fat is the lead in this film but he's not actually in it that much. When he is on screen he's either pushing the charisma meter off the chart or doing the most badass shit you've ever seen so it's no mystery he became Woo's most memorable collaborator. I also love the sequel which ups the comedy and action to new levels.