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Spike Lee's Vietnam War epic rakes in the kudos

By Nguyen An   June 12, 2020 | 11:02 pm PT
'Da 5 Bloods', featuring Vietnamese actress Ngo Thanh Van, currently has a rating of 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 81 on Metacritic.

Before "Da 5 Bloods" hits streaming platform Netflix on June 12, many international critics have given it positive reviews.

In his review on American magazine Hollywood Reporter, critic David Rooney said the movie is a gift right now, amid the Black Lives Matter movement, and that there is no other director that could have made it except Spike Lee, who delights in sprawling and unwieldy stories.

USA Today maintained the Vietnam War epic could be a nominee for the best picture at Oscars 2021.

"Black Lives Mattered in Vietnam, Too" is the title of the review in American newspaper New York Times, calling Spike Lee’s new movie an anguished, funny, violent argument with and about American history.

Da 5 Bloods poster. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

"Da 5 Bloods" poster. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

British newspaper The Guardian gave the movie 5/5 stars, calling it a "paintball gun loaded with real bullets: a blast of satire and emotional agony about race and the American empire, the evergreen wound of Vietnam, African-American sacrifices on the field of battle, and the fact that black deaths matter."

According to The Guardian, Lee has taken the battle-scarred old movie trope of Vietnam and found something relevant and intersectionally complex: black people, because they largely didn’t have the contacts or resources to avoid the draft, or to finesse the avoidance of dangerous frontline duty.

"Da 5 Bloods" depicts four veterans, including Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), returning to Vietnam searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader with help from a tour guide (Johnny Tri Nguyen), amid the lure of buried treasure. The movie, featuring Vietnamese actress Ngo Thanh Van as infamous radio presenter Hanoi Hannah, was filmed in Vietnam last summer.

Spike Lee is well-known for his directorial work in "Do the Right Thing" [1989], "Jungle Fever" [1991], "Malcolm X" [1992], "He Got Game" [1998], and especially "BlacKkKlansman" [2018], which earned him an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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