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Da 5 Bloods (2020)  

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Loved just about everything here. Such a tremendous blend of genres with a lot of Lee's no-nonsense attitude.

 

Don't think I ever saw anything Delroy Lindo was in before (I know), but he rocked it with every moment. His big hug and reconciliation with Norman especially hit me like a truck.

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the character stuff, the relationship between the bloods, and the political stuff about their disillusionment and tying it into current politics is all wonderfully done. I think the adventure action stuff falls a little flat though. that whole last shootout is one big whatever to me. and with the exception of "hanoi hannah" reporting MLK's assassination (actually maybe the best scene in the movie) i didn't think the flashbacks were very engaging either. but the cast are all killing it and i never felt the long run time so it's worth a watch. 

 

i was just rewatching Malcolm X recently and that has a very similar montage ending intercutting with news footage and shit. Spike is just the best at those. this one is very powerful too.

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With Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee has crafted a Vietnam War film as rich and compelling as it is convention-defying. While the film has shades of Apocalypse Now in its setting and structure and Three Kings in its seriocomic treasure hunt on a battlefield, it ultimately feels like an impassioned and dynamic Lee joint that has plenty to say about brotherhood, commitment, trauma, and righting the wrongs of the past. It’s a deep and thematically rich film that works beautifully amid each of its tonal shifts from a buddy comedy to a drama about regret and survivor’s guilt to a tense action-thriller. There’s so much to juggle that it could very easily have been an ambitious miss, but Lee makes it all land without missing a beat. As is typical of the best of Lee’s work, the acting is terrific, and the performers make the most of the room they have to make the characters memorable. The standouts in the ensemble are Delroy Lindo and Clarke Peters as ideologically opposed friends Paul and Otis. Lindo is the best in show as the conservative, PTSD-addled Paul. His performance is intense, yet layered; for all Paul’s bluster and bravado, we see that he is a broken man who is trying in vain to find something to fill his brokenness. It’s a performance whose power lingers. While Peters isn’t quite on the same level as Otis – who consistently acts as a level-headed counterpart – he gives a moving, deeply emotionally-invested performance. Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. also have funny and affecting moments as the remaining members of the title group, Jonathan Majors holds his own among the talented ensemble as Paul’s son, and Chadwick Boseman makes the most of precious few scenes as the fallen squad leader whose remains the men have come to find; in particular, Boseman’s performance is so effective because he shows exactly why Stormin’ Norman would be such a commanding and charismatic figure whom the men would remain committed to decades later. On a technical level, the film is beautifully shot and cleverly uses different aspect ratios to differentiate different segments of the film, and the decision to have the lead actors play their younger selves, while initially odd, works on a thematic level because it establishes a clear and literal representation of how, in numerous ways, they look back on themselves as the same men then as they are now. Once again, Lee also masterfully works in real footage to highlight the real-world importance of the fictional events in the narrative. And though the film runs long, it earns every minute and has enough surprises up its sleeve that it never comes close to being boring. When BlacKkKlansman was released two years ago, I praised it as the most ferociously on-point Lee had been in many years; with Da 5 Bloods, he has cleared even the high bar set by his previous film and made perhaps his very best film outside of Do the Right Thing.

 

A

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Posted (edited)

serious tropic thunder vibes in the scene where Norm Lewis gets blown up

 

tropic-thunder-2008-kirk-lazarus-tugg-sp

Edited by CoolioD1
  • Haha 1

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4 minutes ago, CoolioD1 said:

serious tropic thunder vibes in the scene where Norm Lewis gets blown up

 

tropic-thunder-2008-kirk-lazarus-tugg-sp

Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought back to Tropic Thunder while watching this.

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20 hours ago, CoolioD1 said:

serious tropic thunder vibes in the scene where Norm Lewis gets blown up

 

tropic-thunder-2008-kirk-lazarus-tugg-sp

 

🤔

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Posted (edited)

This was great, and highlights why Spike Lee is considered one of the most masterful directors out there. The filmmaker, as always, has a lot on his mind, and he presents it in an entertaining package that mixes genres together in an almost seamless manner. Also loved the use of the different aspect ratios to present the different time periods. The cast is excellent across the board, but the standout is definitely the great character actor Delroy Lindo. Only real complaint I have is that it could have used some trimming (the sorta-romance between the son and the French woman could've been cut to no ill effect) but even then the nearly 2.5 hour running time went by quickly. A worthy follow-up to BlacKkKlansman, and one of the director's more emotionally-rewarding movies as well. A-

Edited by filmlover

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Disappointing as this film seems stuck  between some buddy adventure film vs trying to be some epic Vietnam war focusing on the black perspective of that war.

 

C+

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Lots of masterful moments, surrounded by a few messier but still interesting choices.  Well worth the watch and the timing of its release is rather prescient.

 

Also, probably the best use of a MAGA hat that I’ve seen, I guess other than flat out burning it.

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I enjoyed it, but it had more on its mind than it did in its story, and I think coolio hit the nail on the head. The character stuff, the political stuff, the disillusionment, etc. all worked very well. But the "adventure" and I guess the "story" itself fell flat. A lot of movies do the narrative well, but underneath they don't have much to say. This movie has a lot to say, but the narrative isn't as strong as the messages. Some of the flashbacks didn't work for me either, but the final scene with Chadwick was really great.

 

B/B+ 

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