Mo’s review published on Letterboxd:
Man, how much of a toll & torture does one's soul go through when being forced to fight & die for a country that wouldn't drink from the same fountain as them. It's such an important & delicate perspective and i don't think anyone would've been more suited for this than, Spike Lee. Those first two acts were so powerful and mesmerising, with how spike utilised & meshed archive footage from the civil rights era & how the flashbacks from the Vietnam War were structured, when it was executed the best, had to be when crossfades were used to illustrate how the black soldiers in Vietnam & civilians back "home" reacted to the death of MLK & how the aspect ratio would change to differentiate what time period we were in.
Despite how sad & dark this film was, spike was still able to make this a nice genre-blending experience with some hilarious scenes that had me dying. I cannot believe that Terrence Blanchard was able to outdo the score he did in blackkklansmen, but he really did. Especially with how triumphant or somber it was at times, and when they needle dropped, the acapella version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?", it really moved me, man. Everyone who sees this will be singing the praises of Delroy Lindo's perfomance, & rightfully so, he really did a fantastic job in illustrating the pain & trauma of not only fighting in a war that had nothing to do with his people, but having to come back & live with that anger & guilt.
Where the film fell flat for me, had to be how drawn out the third act was & the subplot of Otis reconnecting with an old flame & possible child, as it just didn't seem that necessary or vital to what was going on. Like it didn't come all together in the end for me, i was expecting the film to relay what had happened in the film to current events like spike masterfully did with the heather heyer tribute at the end of blackkklansmen, but here in Da 5 bloods, the black lives matter chant near the end of the film, just felt really out of place for me.