Movie Reviews

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

da-5-bloods-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Spike Lee

Genre: Adventure, Drama, War

Runtime: 154 Minutes

Main Cast: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Melanie Thierry, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Le Y Lan, Chadwick Boseman

Plot: Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin are all African American veterans returning to Vietnam to find the remains of their fallen brother and reclaim some buried treasure. Along the way, the 4 men are troubled by their pasts and their mission becomes more and more deadly with every step.

My Thoughts: I saw a lot of hype over Da 5 Bloods on Twitter and so I was desperate to see it for myself. I had no idea it was a Netflix original until I went onto the app to binge more terrible TV, so I was delighted to have something better to watch! I’m shamefully not well versed in Spike Lee’s movies but I really enjoyed BlacKkKlansman (2018) so I had high hopes for this. I think it’s the kind of movie where every viewer will have a different experience but for me, this was a slow burner that lagged to begin with but more than paid off in the end.

Movies like this depend strongly on their leading characters. If we can’t connect with them, if we can’t feel strong feelings for them, the movie is doomed. I adored these guys though. They fought in a war that wasn’t theirs, and they wear the scars from their struggles. I wanted every one of them to succeed.

The moment the movie went from ‘alright, pretty good’ to ‘holy crap this is great’ for me was in the jungle, just after the treasure had been found. It was a wild ride from then on, with plenty of surprises along the way. The part with the landmines in particular – I would have LOVED to be in the cinema for that. Man, I miss the cinema…

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Best Bit: When Delroy Lindo’s character Paul went off on his own – those scenes were absolutely fantastic. If Delroy isn’t in the running for an Oscar for this then we riot!

Worst Bit: As much as I enjoyed and appreciated the flashback scenes, not using any kind of anti-ageing technology really took me out of the moment. I’m guessing it was all down to budget in the end, but when Scorsese gets given goodness even knows how many millions to make The Irishman (2019), it feels unfair. But then, I kind of hated The Irishman, so.

Fun Trivia: The reason why the characters appear old during the war flashbacks is because it isn’t a flashback but instead it is the characters remembering the past, therefore they remember the past with their current age. It also symbolizes that in their mind, they are still in Vietnam and will continue to be in Vietnam, never fully being able to move on from that war.
(Okay, I found this trivia after I’d written the rest of my post. I stand corrected, this makes a lot of sense.)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ‘Make America Great Again’ hats.

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Movie Reviews · Random Posts

Oldboy (2003) vs. Oldboy (2013)

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I had so much fun writing my Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015) post that I was dying to do something similar. My chance finally arose when I decided that Oldboy (2003) would be my first Blind Spot movie of the year. I’d heard terrible things about the 2013 remake and since I ended up enjoying the South Korean original so much, it was an easy decision!

You can read my full review of the original Oldboy here, but let me recap my thoughts for you quickly. It was brilliant, it was dark, twisted, uncomfortable at many times, and smart. So smart in fact that one of my very few criticisms would be that I struggled to follow the story at some points, but that’s largely down to my inexperience with foreign movies and having to rely on subtitles.

From what I can gather, Oldboy fans didn’t want a remake. Why mess with a classic? The same question is on many lips with all of the Disney remakes we’re getting this year and I can see where they’re coming from, but I do have a counterpoint. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for an Americanised remake to stir curiosity in moviegoers, enough to make them watch the original?

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So let me cut to the chase. I watched the remake. I really enjoyed it! Was it as good as the original? No – but as a couple of my fellow bloggers told me – a lot of the hate is undeserved.

Spike Lee’s version is very much a reimagining of the original, it’s been adapted for a Western audience. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying it’s also been ‘dumbed down’, but I would say not to the point where the twist becomes less shocking.

There were two noticeable nods to the original that I spotted. The street vendor who sold Joe the rubber duck for his daughter is wearing a pair of angel wings, just like Oh Dae-su wore in the opening to the original. Marie has a tattoo of an octopus on her arm which is a reference to the octopus that Oh Dae-su ate in the original. I love spotting things like this and I wonder if there were more!

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A few things that I want to complain about:
– The ending didn’t have the same impact. It was moving in the remake but horrifying in the original.
– The bad guy in the remake was almost funny in how over the top he was. The bad guy in the original was quiet and chilling.
– The fight scene in the corridor. You know the one I mean. It was just nowhere near as badass!

All in all, you just can’t beat the original. That said, I really don’t think the remake deserves the hate it got. If you’re intrigued by the premise of the movie but don’t have the patience to read your movie, I don’t think you’d be doing a terrible thing by giving the 2013 version a go.