Da 5 Bloods ★★★½

I suppose my biggest issue here is that by working in genre, Spike Lee is forced to fulfill a few too many narrative conventions; there's plenty of his usual digressions, but he's not a mainstream filmmaker at heart and I tend to prefer it when when he goes free range. This is not helped by the usual Netflix Curse, where every movie they make looks like it costs about 80% of what it should (maybe even lower in this case), leading to some ugly photography and an early action scene that looks unconvincing and awkward*.

Why focus on the complaints, though? This is a Spike Lee joint. The good parts are great, and the film navigates a bunch of complex and messy emotions and political ideas without ever sacrificing its strong point of view. The decision to have the lead actors play themselves as young men without trying to age them down is a masterstroke (take that, Scorsese). Delroy Lindo fucking kills it and is playing the most interesting character I've seen in a new movie in forever, and we should just go ahead and give this guy all the acting awards.

B

*Some of the later action scenes are better, so while I would not consider it his strong suit, Lee does know how to do a shootout.