*A few spoilers here
Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
“Damn Otis just put the Gold on Craigslist”
How do you begin to talk about what Spike Lee has meant to cinema over the last 40 years. He has been making movies and telling his stories in his unique style that blends style, story, and politics all together. His new Netflix Drama Da 5 Bloods is of course incredibly timely, given what is happening in the world, which makes it even more important that it already was.
Spike brings together a cast of characters who he has mostly worked with before like Delroy Lindo as Paul, Isaiah Whitlock (Shoutout The Wire) as Melvin, Clarke Peters (Shoutout The Wire) as Otis, and Spike newcomer Norm Lewis as Eddie. They all play Vietnam vets who decide to go back to Vietnam in order to find the remains of their fallen captain (Chadwick Boseman) and to find some Gold they hid back when they were deployed. This gives us a dual story where you have the present day adventure mixed with flashbacks (shown in awesome shifting aspect ratios) with the characters back in the war. The characters are not de aged in these scenes which I think is interesting and makes me think that these men were reliving this through their older selves.
With Spike Lee movies you know you are going to get a lot more than is just there on the surface. The story touches on a variety of subjects, such as: PTSD, Race Relations, Current Politics, Fathers and Sons, and the idea of life after War. What I always love about Spike’s movies is that he is able to touch on all those incredibly deep topics, while still finding great characters and great humor throughout his stories. Bloods has a ton of humor, and a ton of heart, while also taking the characters and you the viewer to the depths of your emotions.
Stock Up – Delroy Lindo
My God did Delroy do it or did Delroy do it? The long time Spike collaborator shined in by far the most difficult role I have seen in awhile. He played Paul the de facto leader of the remaining Bloods, but he is a staunch MAGA hat wearing Trump supporter and antagonizes the rest of the guys. The depths he has to go to in this role is astonishing highlighted by a Spike Lee patented monologue staring at the camera that will have your heart pounding. I will be shocked if we can find 5 better performances than this when Oscar nominations roll around.
Stock Up – Spike Lee
I know I know this guy is arguably a Top Ten Director ever, how can his stock go up? Well Spikes career has had peaks and valleys like everyons but his Stock seems to be at an all time high right now. A couple years ago, he had incredible success with BlackKklansman which won him his long, AND I MEAN LONG, overdue Oscar. Now he has an all time high budget for a Netflix movie and is still putting out incredibly moving and incredibly well made movies.
*Who’s That Guy/Gal
Jean Reno – 104 IMDB Acting Credits
He played Desroche who is the de facto bad guy in the movie but I just love seeing him pop up on screen. With Ronin, Da Vinci Code, Leon: The Professional and numerous others, he has established himself as a go to guy if you need a menacing prescence.
*A couple other tidbits
- Clarke Peters and Isaiah Whitlock are so fantastic in their roles and it makes me sad that I really have not seen them in enough over the years.
- The score by longtime Spike collaborator Terence Blanchard was once again amazing and mixed with the music seamlessly.
- Loved seeing Jasper Paakkonen and Paul Walter Houser back working with Spike. They both give great performances as side characters in this story.
- There are some truly gruesome scenes throughout this movie.
- The Apocalypse Now type river scene was awesome and a great homage.
Da 5 Bloods is another in a long line of incredible Spike Lee movies and important Spike Lee Movies. Not only is the story great, but it brings out the best in actors who you do not necessarily get to see in starring roles. With everything going on in the world right now, I am happy to see Spike is still able to put out his stories that are entertaining and thought provoking. This will easily stand up as one of the best movies of the year.
*You can find my Spike Lee Rankings here.
*You can find my 2020 Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.