In the 1970s, Paul, Otis, Eddie, and Melvin left Vietnam with a lifelong bond. They had been uprooted from their U.S. hometowns as teenagers, summoned thousands of miles to outthink a mysterious foe in its own jungles. At this vulnerable juncture, each was thrust into an Army squad and handed an assault weapon. Under the direction of Stormin’ Norman — a fellow African-American who taught them how to coexist as rebels and patriots — the Men became a surrogate family, Da 5 Bloods. During the Vietnam War, “Bloods” became a brotherly term between African-American soldiers — a casual term of camaraderie. This brotherhood even outlived its patriarch.
Yet their greatest shared pain awaited The Quartet back home. Like countless returning soldiers, the men received no warm welcome in America, where Anti-War activists dominated the public discourse. Although veterans of previous wars had been embraced as heroes, Vietnam GI’s were spat on and derided as “Baby Killers” — even those who were drafted to serve. Da Bloods also still had to contend with systemic racial discrimination, which robbed them of respect and economic mobility.
Despite recent decades apart, Paul (Delroy Lindo) , Otis (Clarke Peters) Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) have a stronger connection than ever when Academy Award®-winner Spike Lee opens his new film, DA 5 BLOODS, with their present-day reunion. Hidden beneath backslapping and jokes, these are broken men struggling with the realities of Grief, Illness, Divorce, Addiction, Financial Ruin, Regret, and Shame.
By refusing to seek help for his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] symptoms, Paul — a defiant supporter of President Donald Trump — is exacerbating his flawed relationship with his son, David (Jonathan Majors) . When he’s not advocating for Black Lives Matter, Eddie lives in denial of his impending bankruptcy. Melvin chances his happy home life with nights of carefree carousing. A one time Medic carrying a pocketful of pills, Otis, attempts to keep them all grounded.
From a Ho Chi Minh City Hotel, the four-plus David, an uninvited, eleventh-hour arrival — embark on a fateful double mission: find the remains of their Squad Leader, Norman (Chadwick Boseman), plus a chest of Gold they first discovered during combat. To help with the latter, Otis’ former lover, a Vietnamese Woman named Tiên Luu (Lê Y Lan), introduces Da Bloods to her international export contact, Desroche (Jean Reno). If the treasure hunt is successful, the Frenchman can’t transfer currency from Gold bars into offshore accounts, taking a generous cut for himself.
Unaware of the fortune, Local Guide Vinh Tran (Johnny Trí Nguyễn) accompanies Da Bloods on a tense boat ride to the edge of the brush, so they can locate Norman within. Amidst the landscape of their nightmares, however, individual greed eclipses Blood loyalty. New fears arise from treacherous terrain, wild animals, deadly traps, the elements, shattered trust and two more lurking parties — LAMB [Love Against Mines and Bombs] personnel (Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, and Jasper Pääkkönen) and a band of Vietnamese officers (commanded by Nguyễn Ngọc Lâm).
DA 5 BLOODS is an Epic Adventure centered on the African-American experience in Vietnam. Lee wrote the script with his BlacKkKlansman co-scribe Kevin Willmott, based on an original screenplay by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo. A 40 Acres and a Mule production, the Netflix Film is produced by Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin, Jon Kilik, and Lee. Oscar nominee Terence Blanchard composed the score, which compliments several tracks from Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking 1971 album “What’s Going On.”