Da 5 Bloods Review – A Gritty Movie from Spike Lee

Four Vietnam war veterans who call themselves “Bloods” go back to Nam to retrieve their squad leader’s body and relive the horrors of Vietnam war.
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Clarke Peters, Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Mayor, Jean Reno.
Duration: 2hrs 36min
Review By: Bhuvaneswaran P

Whether it’s BlacKkKlansman or Malcom X, Spike Lee gives his all. Da 5 Bloods could easily be his best movie yet. In this movie he captures the emotions of black people who fought in the Vietnam war and he almost portrays the entire US Black people’s tragic history.

Spoilers Ahead

Before you read this review, I would like to mention that this was Chadwick Boseman’s last movie before his death. He plays as the fallen war veteran who goes by the name Stormin Norman. The story revolves around his ideals, his love for the black people and not to mention the gold he and his bloods discovered during the war.

The movie released on Netflix in June 2020 to overwhelming reviews from critics and fans. Four Bloods played by Paul (Delroy Lindo), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr) and Otis (Clarke Peters) return to Vietnam to bring back the remains of Stormin Norman and to secretly take back the gold they buried in the forest during the war.

The prelude to the movie has clippings from Muhammad Ali’s speech to black people’s endurance and suffering from the racial discrimination in the US. After they land in Vietnam, they meet Vinh Tran(Johnny Nguyen) in a hotel, a local tour guide who will accompany them till the jungle.

Later that evening, Otis visits his friend Tien Luu, who was a sex worker during the war, only to find out that he is the father of Tien’s daughter. In order to get the gold out of the country, they come to a deal with a dubious French businessman(Jean Reno) with the help of Tien.

Just when the veterans are about to leave for the gold hunt, Paul’s son David(Jonathan Mayor) finds out about the gold and tags along with them. After Vinh drops them off at the jungle, they encounter a series of events that is gut-wrenching to watch. The screenplay and editing takes the centre-stage here, with the timely flashback of the war that makes us feel for the fallen war victims.

Spike Lee’s movies have always been distinct with his own way of storytelling and he delivers a message that’s more or like the hard truth. This movie makes us think about humanity, like the time when black people went to the Vietnam war for America when the country didn’t even believe in them.

The way he added “Black Lives Matter” scene to the climax back when the incident was still going on is appreciable. It shows how active he is and wants the world to know about black people’s sufferings. Overall, Da 5 Blood is worth watching with some powerful performances from an ensemble cast.

Special Mention to Delroy Lindo

Paul played by Delroy Lindo is the standout performance in the film. Paul is tormented by the flames of war and going back means he has to face the ugly truth which has been haunting him since the war. Delroy’s raw acting is truly an Oscar worthy performance, his 3-minute monologue scene in the end is well written and he brilliantly executed it.

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