Written by / 6/11/2020 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DELROY LINDO STARS IN 'DA 5 BLOODS' DIRECTED BY SPIKE LEE

Photo of Delroy Lindo from More American Graffiti used here in Spike Lee's DA 5 BLOODS Year: 2020
As shown in an archive photo turning up in DA 5 BLOODS, this isn't the first time Delroy Lindo goes to Vietnam. In MORE AMERICAN GRAFFTI he has a quick cameo (credited as Army Sergeant) and now, forty long years later, he's basically the only character in Spike Lee's current "Joint" that means anything...

Consisting of four really old African American Vietnam Vets returning to retrieve their deceased leader's/mentor's remains and many bars of gold, BLOODS is a hybrid of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE for the hunt; UNCOMMON VALOR about a group of returning vets (ten years later/thirty years younger); and COCOON, where some cranky old-timers get a second wind of sorts...
The 16MM filmed Vietnam flashback sequences from DA 5 BLOODS
So there are the usual old-codger clichés, like aching muscles and pain pills. And by having the men be the same old age in flashbacks, the primary focus is on the only young person in their group, and who puts the 5 into 5 BLOODS: a character called "Stormin' Norman" played by Chadwick Boseman, learned more about through present-time adoring exposition than during those war scenes that, exactly like MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI, are filmed in 16MM to resemble war footage as opposed to your average war movie — although the grandiose RAMBO-style Gung-Ho score is as popcorn mainstream as they come, clashing with the attempt at a documentary feel...

Making the best element of DA 5 BLOODS also the most lazy and predictable... Which is the far-too-easy hiking-trip adventure searching for the gold, and, like TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE had first-billed Humphrey Bogart go bonkers while turning on his fortune-seeking partners, Lindo holds that edgy wild card...
Delroy Lindo (with his backwards MAGA hat), Clarke Peters and Mélanie Thierry in DA 5 BLOODS
And not so ironically, he also wears a MAGA (Donald Trump's Make America Great Again) hat that winds up not only angering/irritating his friends but a Vietnamese soldier and Jean Reno as a French antagonist, who ends up part of a final shootout more suited to cable than the big screen (yet this IS made for Netflix)...

There's also a partial love interest, and she too is from France, flirting with the second most important character being related to Delroy Lindo's Paul. Like Patrick Swayze in UNCOMMON VALOR he's a younger non-Veteran: And Jonathan Majors as David also provides most of the levity with bouts of attempted light humor banking off the old dudes — but nothing really loosens up his intense father, who holds a secret that becomes a pretty decent 11th hour twist.
A very cute Mélanie Thierry is thrown in for eye candy DA 5 BLOODS
And so, during this current climate of nationwide (even worldwide) protests following the murder of George Floyd, Spike Lee will definitely get nominated and might just, for the first time, win his coveted Oscar — but it's not deserved since the direction and editing are the most awkward things going...

Including random photos and interviews popping up not only before and after the story but during, seeming tacked-on by an idealistic sixth-grader who just wrote an essay on Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the flashbacks and present time stories don't connect all that well. Either way, It's Lindo who should win an Oscar for a performance that goes against all the corniness and preachiness his director constantly throws in...
The landmine booby trap sequence in Da 5 Bloods with Delroy Lindo and Jonathan Majors
Including a few annoying allegations that fellow white soldiers in Vietnam hated black Americans as much as their North Vietnamese enemy; as if this were the first Vietnam flick involving black soldiers: Growing up on APOCALYPSE NOW (parodied here a few times), Laurence Fishburne and Albert Hall (who both worked for Spike Lee) were as embraced by fans as Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Sam Bottoms, Frederic Forrest...

And one of this film's most suspenseful scenes involves the younger character stepping on a landmine without being able to step off. Which is straight out of THE BOYS IN COMPANY C where African American Stan Shaw turns in the kind of tour-de-force performance that a breezy melodrama like DA 5 BLOODS couldn't begin to capture, or restrain. But Lindo... God love him... does try his best — despite the interruptions.
The landmine booby trap sequence with Stan Shaw in The Boys in Company C
Stan Shaw and Lee Ermy in the underrated Vietnam war flick THE BOYS IN COMPANY C
Black Vietnam War movie legends Larry Fishburne & Albert Hall from Apocalypse Now
Harold Sylvester and Gene Hackman return to Vietnam in the very similar UNCOMMON VALOR
Jonathan Majors and Clarke Peters in DA 5 BLOODS
Isiah Whitlock Jr., Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors in Da 5 Bloods

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