When it comes to critical acclaim Spike Lee is on a roll these days. After his first, deserved Oscar win for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman in 2019, Lee’s debut Netflix feature, Da 5 Bloods has been racking up ecstatic reviews since its release on the streaming platform in June. That’s because Lee’s Vietnam War revisionist history is a vital and urgent war film that redresses many holes in the representational record of one of the most embarrassing misadventures in US military history, but also because of its supremely intelligent awareness of the films preceding it.

On one level, Lee’s story of five black, former Vietnam vets is a classic adventure tale in the mould of John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: they reunite in present-day Ho Chi Minh City to deliver on their decades-old promise to their dead commander to ensure that a buried stash of gold is dug up and used for the betterment of their fellow African Americans...

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