“Da 5 Bloods”, a much-awaited Spike Lee movie on the Vietnam War is to launch globally on 12 June via Netflix, in a release twist forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally meant to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, “Da 5 Bloods” will add Lee’s take on the conflict to the existing lore of films on the subject, such as “Apocalypse Now”, “The Deer Hunter”, “Platoon” and “Full Metal Jacket.”

Mixing a present-day plot with flashbacks and archival footage, “Da 5 Bloods” depicts a group of four African-American war veterans who return to Vietnam in search for the remains of their fallen squad leader – as well as a trunk of gold buried in the jungle during the war.

The official movie poster / a Spike Lee portrait by Jason Bell.

Filmed in Vietnam and Thailand last year, the movie features an ensemble of popular actors including Delroy Lindo, Chadwick Boseman, Jean Reno, and Ngô Thanh Vân – a Vietnamese actress and film producer. In the film, Vân portrays Trịnh Thị Ngọ, a real character better known as Hanoi Hannah – an infamous radio presenter whose propaganda broadcasts were intended to frighten American soldiers and shame them into desertion.

A follow-up to Spike Lee’s acclaimed 2018 drama “BlacKkKlansman” which earned the director an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and his first nomination as a director, “Da 5 Bloods” will have a theatrical release later in the year and will therefore be eligible for the 2021 Oscars. Just like “BlacKkKlansman”, “Da 5 Bloods” is an examination of American racial politics of the time, with black draftees reluctant to fight for a country that continued to discriminate against them.

As Lee previously told Vanity Fair, ““The United States Armed Forces came close to being torn apart when black soldiers heard that Dr. King was assassinated. They also heard that their brothers and sisters were tearing shit up in over 100 cities across America. The tipping point came very close; the black soldiers were getting ready to set it off in Vietnam – and not against the Vietcong either.”