Rating (3.5 out of 5)
Summary: Spike Lee movies are always entertaining, and he constantly offers us a new shot or technique that is truly masterful. For that reason alone you should watch this film. In “Da 5 Bloods,” he provides a unique backdrop to layout his emotional story. Unfortunately, his story is two hours and 30 minutes, and the extra 30 minutes was unneeded. His story and his message were compelling but get lost a little. Also, some elements of the story were a wee bit too predictable. Overall, worth the time.
Plot: 4 Vietnam veterans return to Vietnam to retrieve their fallen friend and the gold.
Detail: There is one scene when David (Jonathan Majors) is looking up at the 4 vets as they are talking to him. The shot angle and his look were literally worth 1,000 words. This type of imagery and camera work separates Spike Lee from other directors. It is this type of direction, that makes him one of the greatest directors. I never get this from Scorcese or Speilberg.
There was another instance where Paul (Delroy Lindo) is walking through the forest talking to himself. It wasn’t some cheesy Ferris Bueller moment, where he acknowledges he is talking to the camera. It was an intense scene as Paul faces his demons but is cutting through the bush. We are in for a close-up, then panning back out, and now moving through the brush. Powerful and very Spike Lee.
I enjoyed the colors and images of the film. The shots are a stark contrast to a Vietnam we know from war pictures. Spike Lee captured the change and doing so said a lot about the futility of the war. I appreciated the subtlety of his message.
The story, at its core, was excellent. However, the nuances of the story were a little weak. Scott and Julie both called out the fact they met a minesweeper at the bar and accurately predicted a future mine problem. A little obvious.
Here is my main problem. All the way to the point they find the gold and the body, the story was about people. What the war had done to them, what they had done, how they had changed and faced life afterward. I was curious if they would make it out of the jungle as friends.
The film takes a dramatic turn as the crew engages in two different firefights.Yo. u had established a tension as people, the additions of guns lessened the movie. We knew Paul had a demon to face, and watching him come to terms with that during the film was the story. The guns were unnecessary.
Finally, I should turn off every Spike Lee movie 10 minutes before it ends. There is always that last political message he has to hammer into my head. I think it takes away from the magnificence of what he gave to you in the previous two hours.