Spike Lee’s newest movie feels like something that most people should expect from Spike Lee at this point. Despite being maybe just a little too traditional and feeling too familiar, Da 5 Bloods carries itself with a strong sense of urgency and energy. Held together by amazingly strong performances.
Da 5 Bloods tells the story of five African American Vietnam War veterans who return to Vietnam in hunt of two things: The remains of their fallen squad leader who died during the war, as well as a gold treasure that they all helped to hide.
What follows is a tale of adventure, bigotry and heroism. Set against the backdrop of the controversial Vietnam war, Lee let’s Da 5 Bloods do all the storytelling for him.
Truth be told, Da 5 Bloods strengths do not lie in the story or the screenplay. It’s a pretty haphazard story that feels like it has been told in some way before, just with some different faces and points of view. Vietnam is not exactly a new story being told in Hollywood overall. You got films like We Were Soldiers, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon that all told similar enough stories.
Where Da 5 Bloods really comes into its own is in the phenomenal acting and energy that the whole cast brings to Spike Lee’s film. You may have already seen a lot of buzz around Delroy Lindo in his role for this film. He is truly on a different level than he has been in his previous films.
Which is honestly saying quite a bit for Lindo. Starring in films like Malcolm X and Salute, Lindo has proven his versatility time and time again. It isn’t just Lindo that comes into his own in this film either, the whole cast is honestly on fire in this film.
Viewers familiar with Spike Lee’s previous films may not find something too new to enjoy about Da 5 Bloods. Lee’s traditionally strong fisted approach to social commentary feels a little bit less effective in this movie.
Mayhaps it’s because of the setting. As said before, social commentary set against the backdrop of Vietnam is just not a new concept. Granted, Spike Lee does try something different with the adventure angle, it just doesn’t feel like enough.
Overall, Da 5 Bloods is held together by an incredibly strong performance from the cast and technical expertise from the crew. Downside is that this film just feels like a lesser work from Spike Lee, with elements of Coppola sprinkled in. Compared to his films like BlackKKlansman, Do The Right Thing and Inside Man, it just does not feel the same.
Especially when you consider that his film Inside Man was an action/adventure film. Seems like it would’ve been a more rock solid effort from Lee, but hey, not everyone can always hit major home runs. At least Lee still hits an easy triple, even when it feels like a stumble in most places.