Da 5 Bloods review – Spike Lee goes all out in Vietnam

Developed by Lee and his regular collaborator Kevin Willmott from an original script by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, Da 5 Bloods opens in typically forthright fashion with historical footage of Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, the latter declaring that “when you take 20 million black people and make them fight all your wars and pick all your cotton… sooner or later theirallegiance towards you is going to wear thin”. On the plus side, the ensemble cast (which also features Jonathan Majors, Norm Lewis, Mélanie Thierry, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Jean Reno and Paul Walter Hauser) is excellent, and Lee’s ear for a finely chosen tune remains sharp. Terence Blanchard’s rich score is interspersed with bursts of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On, sometimes erupting as a group singalong, elsewheresurfacing as a plaintive solo voice.