There are many positives to this film. The editing was smooth (transitions of aspect ratios), the archive footage spliced throughout added a layer of realism to the cause/message of the film, I loved the numerous digs at Trump/Fascism, the way the Bloods romanticised Stormin’ Norman, the Hannoi Hannah segments & the films social/political commentary exploring greed & patriotism.
The redemption arc for Paul, a misguided Xenophobe with PTSD is quite touching, however, the Bloods are shown in a very masculine/aggressive light (Paul’s son is the exception). As Lee refrains from giving them an ounce of vulnerability, their performances come off rather lacklustre (despite Lindo trying his dam dest). Too often, the storyline goes off on tangents, the script repeats itself & the plot loses momentum.
Lee overloads with too many ideas, leaving little room to explore issues such as the GI’s fathering children with Vietnamese sex workers and the connection between Black-power politics & anti-imperialism. The film should have dedicated more time to actually detailing the war through the prism of black experiences, instead of simply implying it was hard. The ages of the men in Nam & present day are the exact same (minus Boseman’s character), Tiên looks 40ish (when Otis is nearing 70) his daughter looks 30+ (it’s all a bit confusing). The score was utterly forgettable & the presence of Marvin Gaye’s music fitted really well with the films message, but sadly didn’t really work in the scenes they were used in. Film Director Spike Lee is back in form behind the camera with another whiplash piece of Cinema. Da 5 blood explores four Black Vietnam veterans back on war soil to retrieve lost gold left by a fallen soldier played by Chadwick Boseman. In this Film, the use of flashback is what stings like a dagger forcing the viewer to ponder about how memory can be an affliction , especially in the context of War. Spike Lee sets the past in the present by having the main characters re-living war memories at their actual old age. This technique puts the emphasis on how war can be a never ending cycle even where the battlefield is absent. Fine acting also helps this movie get his point accross, but man, here, actor Delroy Lindo shines with his portrayal of a war veteran facing his demons. Different themes can be observed in this film, one element that caught my attention is the idea of how humans failed to love. Although Americans usually claim to be God fearing Christians who are buddy with The Christ, love clearly slipped off their hands by throwing themselves into war. The decision by the big wings to go to war was a decision that would mark humanity for ever. The film is well written, has a good score and a fine reminiscing use of music with a brillant use of Marvin Gaye’s accapella. Spike also uses tactics of framing and re-framing which puts the viewer in sync with time and perspective.