Da 5 Bloods Movie Review: Bring the boys home!


Jackson Piercy

Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Norman (Chadwick Boseman), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and Eddie (Norm Lewis) in their glory days in ‘nam. Photo courtesy of imdb.com.

First off, this movie does not pull any punches. Vietnam was an ugly war on every single front, and I think director Spike Lee nails this on the head from the get-go.

To send the point home, however, the content throughout the film is as graphic as it gets. Not in just the action in the film, but also the snippets of the war we do see. Real people from real films during a real war are shown in this film, and much of the real stuff is quite graphic. As in real cadavers graphic. This film is not for the faint of heart. With all that being said, let’s get on with it.

“Da 5 Bloods” follows four Vietnam veterans coming back to Vietnam to recover the body of their fallen comrade, Stormin’ Norman (played by the late Chadwick Boseman). In addition to the recovery of Norm, Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) have come back to recover a large order of gold bars that were supposed to go to the locals fighting the Viet Cong as payment.

Norman was killed in a mission to recover the gold after the plane that was delivering the gold crashed in enemy territory. Before his untimely death, Norman and the other four became the titular “Bloods,” making a pact to come back and recover the gold for themselves after the war.

Paul’s son, David (Johnathan Majors) comes without Paul’s knowledge to check in on him, because Paul suffers from a particularly severe case of PTSD. Otis arranges to have the gold smuggled out through some shady sources, and because of those arrangements, the Bloods are left in quite a tight bind. How do they get out of it? Watch the movie.

Chadwick Boseman is not in this movie as much as I was to believe, in which is not a complaint on my behalf, and rather an observation. The real star of the show, Delroy Lindo, really steals every single scene he is in. Honestly, one could probably write an entire book about Paul and his apparent psychosis. I don’t want to speculate too much, but I honestly think Delroy should at least receive consideration for Best Actor this year, honest!

As for everyone else, they really suck you into the story. The chemistry between the Bloods is the big pull for me in this one, bickering and playing like old friends, in which takes you aback when things turn for the worst. Well, I think it’d be safe to say that “worst” is the understatement of the century.

Those scenarios contrasted with the almost cutesy war flashbacks, the fully-aged actors and a still-young Chadwick (which still hurts just to see), brings out almost a sense of horror, at least on my account. I’m not going to spoil anything here intentionally, so you’ll just have to see what I’m talking about, as long as you can get past the monstrous two-and-a-half-hour runtime.

I really can’t recommend this one enough. It has just about every single mood you can feel, and really tops it all off with a sort of melancholy that not much can replicate. The real challenge with the film is the massive runtime. It’s not that the film ever drags but looking at a film 90 minutes in and seeing you have another hour can be a bit daunting. I really do think it’s worth the time investment, so give this one a watch. You won’t regret it.