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Da 5 Bloods

‘Da 5 Bloods’ finds director Spike Lee exploring African America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Examining the emotional aftermath, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ also has much to say about 1960’s race relations. As with his previous work, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ isn’t a dry historical essay, having a mostly captivating mix of drama, humour and action. This isn’t something Lee often has in his films but it adds to his flair for gritty realism and relatable characters no matter the time period.

Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jnr) are Vietnam veterans returning to Vietnam. Their goals are to find the body of their former Squad Leader Norm (Chadwick Boseman) and buried treasure found decades ago. As they search through the Vietnamese jungle, the men deal with past and current regrets while clearing a path for the future.

At its heart, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ explores the impact war had on everyone including opposite sides of the conflict. Some were able to rebuild their lives better than others, with a few unaware of how wartime experiences changed those around them. Spike Lee’s strongly written characters are strong individuals with their unique personalities presenting unexpected moments along their journey.

Spike Lee is generally a good story-teller although ‘Da 5 Bloods’ suffers from his usual excess. Whilst it’s interesting viewing, his narrative touches wanders off into tangents that either don’t make sense drags the pacing. The mood and music of the era are well presented with the cast diving into their multi-faceted roles with gusto.

War is always hell but so is its ongoing influence as ‘Da 5 Bloods’ shows. Although not consistently engaging, it’s still a fairly solid film in Lee’s cinematic repertoire. Whatever the quality of his films, Lee is always a director whose films have enough value worthy of watching and thinking about long after their end credits.

Rating out of 10: 6

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX.

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