The summer movie season is the most exciting time for many film buffs. But this year has been disheartening as so many exciting releases have been changed due to the world falling apart. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Spike Lee has announced that Da 5 Bloods is coming to Netflix on June 12th.
Da 5 Bloods stars Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors, Paul Walter Hauser, Delroy Lindo, and Clarke Peters. The story follows African-American Vietnam War veterans who return to the jungle in search of treasure they buried there with one of their fallen comrades.
Of course, this task will be arduous as they must contend with nature and some locals who aren’t happy to see the American soldiers back in the country. The memory of the conflict is still in the air, and that’s bound to lead to some old wounds reopening and resulting in gunfire.
Lee is no stranger to making movies for streaming services, but Da 5 Bloods will mark his first narrative feature for Netflix as a director. The streamer also seems to have awards ambitions for this one, as the film was scheduled for a theatrical release before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the entire world.
However, Da 5 Bloods will still be eligible for Oscars contention since the Academy tweaked their rules for next year’s ceremony. That’s good news for Netflix, as this project seems like a potential contender.
More than anything, though, it’s just exciting to know that there will be a new Lee joint hitting screens worldwide in the next few weeks. He’s one of the most important filmmakers working today, and he never fails to create movies that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. This will be no different, as Lee is out to give viewers a history lesson.
This won’t be Lee’s first war-themed joint. His 2008 movie Miracle At St. Anna chronicles the experiences of African-American soldiers in World War II. Da 5 Bloods will similarly explore the unsung contributions to American war efforts by Black soldiers, albeit in a different war.
As noted by the BFI, Lee has remained quite tight-lipped about this project and other Vietnam movies. However, he did say that the aim with Da 5 Bloods is to pay respect to the Black soldiers who served their country in the conflict, as other war movies haven’t focused on their stories.
We realized that this was an opportunity to show what Black Vietnam soldiers did. I’m not saying there are no Black soldiers in other Vietnam war movies, but this is their story. They are not like the guy on the side.”
The premise of this film suggests that the story will take place after the height of the conflict. But the war itself is bound to play a big part in Da 5 Bloods‘ narrative, as it’ll be a key element in contextualizing how it had an impact on the characters and the situation they find themselves in.
Lee also told the BFI that patriotism will be one of the film’s most prominent themes. This comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s comments about Black NFL players being unpatriotic for refusing to stand for the national anthem while protesting racial injustices. According to Lee, this is a ridiculous notion as America’s Black population has always fought on the front line.
“The first person to ever die fighting for the US flag was a Black man, Crispus Attucks, who was killed at the Boston Massacre, fighting against the British. So, Black people were dying for America from the get-go. During the Vietnam War, the African-American population in the US was 11 percent, but the number of black soldiers fighting was 31 percent. Our Black asses went straight to the front line, so we incurred a disproportionate number of fatalities and injuries.”
Da 5 Bloods also has the potential to be one great adventure movie. Treasure-hunting expedition movies are far too rare these days, but the best ones always make for exciting tales of camaraderie that are packed with thrills and action. Bearing in mind that this flick will also feature war and nature attack movie elements, I’m anticipating some adrenaline-pumping moments.
A new Spike Lee joint is always a big deal, and his track record for producing excellence speaks for itself. Expect Da 5 Bloods to be one of the year’s most memorable and socially-charged movies, and one that will make a necessary addition to cinema about the Vietnam War.