Review ‘Yes 5 Blood’: Spike Lee revises the legacy of the Vietnam War

First of all, this Netflix debut provides a powerful exhibition of its mostly 60-star stars, featuring Delroy Lindo (in her fourth film about Lee), “The Wire” by Clarke Peters and Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Norm Lewis as a quartet of African-American veterans. who return to Vietnam decades later. They reportedly look for the remains of a fallen comrade (Chadwick Boseman, flashback), but there is another, more practical reward: Golden Bricks, hidden at the time of his death.

Lee opens the film (which lasts more than half an hour) with a montage that lays the historical foundations, from the 1960s to the present day. In fact, Lindo’s Paul terrifies his peers with the “MAGA” sports hat, which triggers one of several sharp observations about the current president.

It has been observed that African-American soldiers fought and died for a country that did not fulfill its promise to them. This encourages various ideas of what to do with the buried treasure – after, that is, the arduous journey by which one would find oneself.

Not surprisingly, the search did not go smoothly, hitting several forces and obstacles along the way. They involve a kind of madness driven by the appearance of wealth, in the open nod of “Treasure of Sierra Madre” – Lindo is basically Bogart’s character – although various classics, including “Apocalypse Now” and “Bridge on the River Kwai,” each turn.

In a way, Lee is not far from the material he was researching “BlacKkKlansman” his 2018 Oscar nominee, drawing direct lines from America’s past to its still troubled present.
The connections, however, were cleaner. Part of that has to do with the origin of the project, because Lee and “BlacKkKlansman” collaborator Kevin Willmott basically rearrange the existing script about soldiers looking for old booty while embarking on various tangents, such as Paul’s relationship with his adult son (Jonathan Majors), who unexpectedly marks along with them.

Lee has ways of juggling multiple ideas within his films, but to use the metaphor of war, he fights on too many fronts – trying to serve the story and underestimating while at the same time out of historical context. This includes not only the stories of these soldiers, but also the immorality of the war, its impact on the Vietnamese people, and the injustices that African Americans faced at home, then and now.

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The plot of the film is wonderful, but it would benefit from a narrowly constructed story. That being said, several sequences affected by the intensity of the fixture, highlighted by Lindo, who at one point brings a monologue of riveting directly into the camera as he marches through the jungle.

Flashback contains a puzzling selection, which barely makes up the cast, so everyone except Boseman looks pretty similar to today. Even without a budget for extinction technology like the one used “Irishman” (an imperfect device in itself), throwing younger players into those scenes would be a better – or at least less distracting – option.

Striking at its core, “Yes 5 Blood” offers a powerful reminder of how topics that have penetrated the public arena in recent weeks have boiled over and periodically erupted, a byproduct that has remained unanswered and unanswered for decades.

It’s another timely, thoughtful message from a filmmaker known to them, in a film that piles up so much on its plate that it can’t get any better than Lee’s best.

“Yes 5 Blood” premieres June 12 on Netflix. Rated R.

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