Spike Lee’s post-Vietnam Drama ‘Da 5 Bloods’ is One Powerful Joint

Julien Neaves – Editor

Following the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman I decided to check out more of his films as I primarily know him from the MCU. So when I saw he was in a Spike Lee Joint on Netflix it seemed like a good place to start. But Da 5 Bloods was nothing like I expected.

PAUL: I love the smell of the river in the morning. Smells like victory MELVIN: Shut up Paul

Firstly the film does not have a lot of Boseman in it. The main setting is modern day Vietnam where four African American veterans return to find the remains of Boseman’s character who was killed in action in the Vietnam War. And secondly we don’t see a lot from the war itself, as these only appear in a few flashbacks interspersed throughout the film. But I will say Boseman was excellent in his brief appearances as the wise-beyond-his-years warrior/philosopher “Stormin’” Norman.

The film is actually about the scars of the war and what is left behind. And of the four surviving Bloods the most scarred is the mentally unstable Paul played by award-winning actor Delroy Lindo, who previously worked with Lee in Malcolm X and Crooklyn. And Lindo gives his everything here in a masterful, riveting, award-worthy performance. He is easily the highlight of the film.

You see this rope? This is MY rope. MINE. Touch it again, and I will hog tie your black behind

The other highlights are the stylish visuals, resonant themes of race and politics, and the toe-tapping soundtrack courtesy of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On. But oddly the film turns the corner from a drama to an 80s-styled action movie in the third act with all its overused cliches. And for me this just lessened what came before. Lee also gets a bit self-indulgent with some of his historical connections and choice of camera techniques. Though imperfect, Da 5 Bloods is still a poignant film and worth watching if only for Lindo’s tour de force performance.

Julien’s Score: 7 out of 10

For our Redmangoreviews tribute to Chadwick Bozeman you can click here. And for more Quick Bite film reviews you can like and follow Redmangoreviews by clicking here.

B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93 Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.

I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.