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Da 5 Bloods -Vietnam War film by Spike Lee

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  • Da 5 Bloods -Vietnam War film by Spike Lee

    This is a great film to catch on Netflix. It details the journey of 4 African-American vets to come back and recover the body of a lost comrade As well as a buried stash of Gold. There are mentions of modern day politics along with Figures from the past such as Nixon , Muhammad Ali, Hanoi of the veterans played by Delroy Lindo is a Trump supporter in the film.

    Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
    Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

    George S Patton

  • #2
    I thought it was pretty awful. Not sure what it was but the characters really bugged me.


    • #3
      REVIEW - Da Five Bloods

      This review is aimed at the white people who would consider watching a Spike Lee movie. Let’s face it, there are many who absolutely will not watch it, no matter what I say. I am not a big Lee fan because he is overrated and his previous foray into war movies (“Miracle at St. Anna”) was terrible. However, I will watch any new war movie, including “Top Gun: Maverick” for the sake of my blog. And to communicate my opinion to my open-minded readers. So, open your minds and here we go.

      If you did not know this was a Spike Lee movie, you would know it within seconds. It opens with footage of Muhammad Ali’s famous proclamation that he had no quarrel with the Viet Cong, so he refused to go to Vietnam. If you hate Ali because of his politics, you might want to turn the movie off now. It’s going to get “worse”. Quickly. Ali is followed by footage of Angela Davis, Agent Orange, Kent State, the 1968 Democratic Convention, the Loan execution, napalm girl, and the fall of Saigon. All the hits! As usual, Lee is anything but subtle about his film’s message. One of the clips is of Bobby Seale railing against police brutality. This from a film made before the current crisis, but a film that is perfectly timed for it. At $35-45 million, it is Lee’s most expensive film. I doubt his deal with Netflix recoups that cost, but he seems like the kind of activist who does not give a damn. He certainly will reach a larger audience of shut-ins than he would ever reach in a theater.

      The movie’s premise is four African-American veterans have returned to Vietnam to locate the body of their slain brother and bring it back. Otis (Clarke Peters) is the level-headed proponent of the quest who may have fathered an Amer-Asian child. Eddie (Norm Lewis) is a wealthy black. Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) is Paul’s foil. Paul (Delroy Lindo) is the angry black man, who happens to be a Trump supporter. Red is the new black hat. Oh, and he has PTSD. If you’re wondering how many of the four will survive and you guessed all of them, you are not reading Lee well. One will die, fo’ sure. They are joined by Paul’s estranged son David (Jonathan Majors) so we don’t have to look at just four old geezers and we can have a reconciliation arc. The movie uses flash backs to apprise us of the original mission, which was to search for a downed CIA C-47. It turns out the plane was carrying gold, so this is a heist film. But its also a road trip film because they have to get to the site via river boat (cue the “Ride of the Valkyries”). Then it becomes a camping movie as the five proceed through the jungle to the site. Then it’s a chase movie as the quintet are pursued by neo-Congs who want the gold. And finally, it becomes a last stand movie.

      Along the way, there is the requisite dysfunction. Most of it involves the mentally unstable and belligerent Paul. Lindo dominates the movie and gets to chew the jungle scenery. Lee manages to slip in some history and current events factoids. Paul represents Trumpers which allows for digs at the President. Lee inserts “President Bone Spurs” and “Klansman in the Oval Office” into the script. Trump fans will not enjoy this movie, even if I mention it is pro-Second Amendment. But the dysfunction works as the vets (and their 1968 selves) interact and talk like comrades (or in this case, bloods). (White viewers, slow the film down to get woke on Vietnam era dapping.) Get Wikipedia ready so you can search for all the black historical figures that get shout-outs (Milton Olive, Crispus Attucks, Edwin Moses). And we’re not talking about them just coming up in conversation. When they are injected, they come with a convenient power point slide. You’ll enjoy the movie more if you have a passion for learning more about history and can’t wait to read more about it. That’s me.

      So, if you can sit through the preaching and protesting, is the movie entertaining? It does have some tired clichés. The main one being that greed for gold corrupts. And yet, for the most part, it is unpredictable. There is a land mine subplot that affords the inclusion of a white woman who happens to be a mine disposal expert. The unpredictability of this is which of the quintet will blow themselves up. The lukewarm unpredictability compliment is overshadowed by some nifty mysteries that the movie sets up for us to ponder. How did Norman (Chadwick Boseman) die? Will they get the gold? Will Paul reconcile with his son? And, of course, who will survive? The resolution to all of these questions is satisfactory, although some of the plot developments are stretches. Considering the heavy-handedness of the message rendering, the ludicrous discovery of the gold and the arrival of bomb disposal can be overshadowed.

      The movie is well-acted and even Lindo is more restrained than his character could have been. Lee made the questionable decision to not do the flash-backs with younger actors or de-aging technology. This was a mistake as no amount of make-up art can make Lindo, in particular, look like a twenty-something. So they don’t even try. Those 1968 scenes (which Lee coolly delineates by narrowing the screen) are a weakness as Lee has little ability to stage combat. But they do allow him to give a taste of blood attitudes in Vietnam, post-King assassination. Thankfully, the scenes are not long enough for people like me to pick them apart. And there is some bow to reloading. Don’t stress over the tactical ineptness. It’s a given.

      I was prepared to sneer at this movie and it does have its sneer-worthy moments. However, I do recommend it. It is a big improvement over “Miracle at St. Anna”. It helps if you have a tolerance for Lee’s overt activism. If you cut all the teachable moments and the “**** you, racists’ rants, you would have a much shorter movie. But an entertaining one. It gets better as it goes along and the ending is satisfying. I’m talking about the slam bang final stand, not the post script schmaltziness. I personally did not mind the factoids and the bashing, although they stick out like sore thumbs. It’s a Spike Lee movie. And a war movie. I’ll take what I can get.

      GRADE = B-


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