Da 5 Bloods is a 2020 American war drama film directed by Spike Lee, who also produced alongside Jon Kilik, Beatriz Levin, and Lloyd Levin. It stars Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, Jean Reno, and Chadwick Boseman. The film’s plot follows a group of four aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there. Originally written by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo in 2013, the script was re-worked by Lee and Kevin Willmott following the pair’s BlacKkKlansman (2018). The cast joined in February 2019 and filming began a month later, lasting through June and taking place in Southeast Asia. With a production budget of $35–45 million, it is among Lee’s most expensive films. Netflix digitally released Da 5 Bloods worldwide on June 12, 2020. It received positive reviews, with critics praising its direction, story, themes, cinematography, and Lindo’s performance.
Plot: During the Vietnam War, a squad of Black US Army soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division, Paul, Otis, Eddie, Melvin and their squad leader Norman, who dub themselves the “Bloods,” secure the site of a CIA airplane crash and recover its cargo, a locker of gold bars intended as payment for the Lahu people for their help in fighting the Viet Cong. The Bloods decide to take the gold for themselves and bury it so they can retrieve it later. However, in the ensuing Vietnamese counter-attack, Norman is killed and the Bloods cannot locate the buried gold after a napalm strike obliterates all of the identifying landmarks.
In the present day, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin meet up in Ho Chi Minh City. A recent landslide had uncovered the tail of the crashed plane, and with this new information they plan to find the gold and Norman’s body. Otis reunites with his old Vietnamese girlfriend Tiên, who reveals that he is the father of her grown child. Tiên introduces the Bloods to Desroche, a French businessman who agrees to help the Bloods smuggle the gold out of Vietnam once they retrieve it. Soon thereafter, Paul’s son David joins the mission. Vinh, a tour guide hired by the Bloods, leads the group out into the countryside, where a confrontation with a local merchant forces Paul to admit that he has post-traumatic stress disorder.
At a hotel bar, David meets Hedy, the founder of LAMB, an organization dedicated to clearing landmines. The next day, Vinh drops off the group and tells them he will pick them up in a few days. During their first night, Paul confiscates a pistol Otis had been secretly given by Tiên and becomes suspicious of his motives. Eventually, the Bloods find the gold bars scattered across the side of a hill. They also find Norman’s remains and pray over them. Eddie reveals that his excessive spending has rendered him broke, but reminds the Bloods of Norman’s original plan to give the gold to their black brethren in the United States. On the hike out, Eddie steps on a landmine and is killed. In the chaos, David also steps on a mine but does not trigger it, just as Hedy and two other volunteers from LAMB, Simon and Seppo, show up. Paul and the others manage to pull David off the landmine safely. Paul then holds the three outsiders hostage with Otis’s gun, paranoid that they will report them to the authorities.
During the night Seppo escapes while David and the others forcibly take the gun from Paul. When the Bloods meet Vinh at the agreed rendezvous spot, a group of gunmen show up demanding the gold in exchange for Seppo, whom they have captured. A shootout results in David being shot in the leg and Seppo being killed by a landmine while trying to escape. The gunmen flee. Assuming that Desroche has crossed them, Vinh suggests retreating to a nearby abandoned temple to defend themselves from reinforcements. Unwilling to trust Vinh, Paul takes his share of the gold and heads out into the jungle alone. The remaining Bloods offer Vinh, Hedy and Simon a share of the remaining gold for their trouble.