By Michael Hernandez
Spike Lee hits the nail on the head of the portrayal of the Black soldier during the Vietnam War in his new Netflix film Da 5 Bloods. In the movie, four former soldiers, played by Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, and Isiah Whitlock Jr, return to Vietnam to retrieve the remains of their fallen squadron leader and to find a stash of gold that they left buried in the jungle. Once they get there, they are also joined by Lindo’s character’s son, played by Johnathan Majors, an excellent actor who is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Stormin’ Norman, played by Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), is their fallen leader who was their “Malcolm” and “Martin Luther King” during the war. He was loved and respected by the squad and every member of the platoon was deeply affected by his death; especially Paul (Lindo), who dreams of Stormin’ Norman’s ghost and who still has conversations with his former leader and mentor. Da 5 Bloods is one of Spike Lee’s finest movies to date. It tells the history of the Black Lives Matter Movement from a historical perspective taking it back to Dr. King with excellent acapella versions of Marvin Gaye’s socially-conscious music of the 70s that sets the mood for the film.
The returning soldiers have to deal with issues from their past while on their journey, but they are up for the task. They each do an excellent job in supporting roles. Also Amanda Nguyen as “Hanoi Hanna” deserves mention for her portrayal as radio host and official dispenser of propaganda, who talks directly to the “Soul Brothers” and shows them more understanding than their own government.
Da 5 Bloods is rated R for violence and runs a little bit long at 2 hours and 34 minutes, but hey, it’s on Netflix in your home. I think Da 5 Bloods is a fine piece of cinema and on my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale,” I rate it a JUMBO (with extra butter), my highest possible rating.