Da 5 Bloods, the Spike Lee-directed story of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam for two specific reasons, years after the war ended is a good film. One that really ought to qualify Delroy Lindo for at least an award nomination because his performance is powerful, heartbreaking and hard to forget.
Also starring Chadwick Boseman, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr., the men are there to find the remains of their fallen squad leader, and to locate the gold fortune he helped them hide many years earlier.
I enjoyed much of the way the story unfolded; including the use of flashbacks. There’s also the way important black leaders were highlighted in the movie at key points. Especially the leaders/freedom fighters who impacted the lives of the veterans around the time they were American soldiers in Vietnam. These moments helped me to better understand the characters and what was happening in the world at the time. I found Da 5 Bloods to be a moving, timely, engaging and certainly heartbreaking story that delves into the relationship between four veterans, their shared experience as black Americans and how that contributed to their lives during important times in American history.
One of the most delightful parts of Lee’s movie is at the very beginning when we get to see the comradery and brotherhood between the four men. Tensions do eventually follow, as expected. But those few minutes at the start had Da 5 Bloods feeling a little bit like the male version of Girls Trip (2017); a truth I have zero complaints about.
In terms of what I didn’t love about Da 5 Bloods, there are two main things in particular. Firstly, some of what I hoped would be surprise happenings/events were set up in a way that made it easy to guess precisely what was about to take place, especially if you’d been fully paying attention. For example, there’s one particular moment that involves a character walking in a very specific way during a disagreement between the four men – but seemingly for no apparent reason before a key distressing event takes place.
Second, who, while stealing, chooses to be extremely loud as they do it, unless they’re a bank robber wielding guns? That I’d understand. I think the four veterans were far too loud while retrieving the gold, even if they did think no one was around. It annoyed me that they weren’t more careful when it made perfect sense for them to be just that. I’m not saying that the story would have turned out differently if they had just lowered their voices and not let the bright shiny gold catch the light. But doing all they did certainly didn’t help, let alone make sense to me.
Da 5 Bloods reminds us of why Lee is a notable filmmaker. Generally, the story is well structured and engaging. So, watch it for a good Spike Lee movie experience, and because performance-wise, everyone did great, especially Lindo.
Happy Film Loving