Bam’s review published on Letterboxd:
Saying a Spike Lee's film is political is like saying water is wet. The new Netflix Original Spike Lee Joint is a masterful combination of 80s anti-war film, reminiscent of the very obvious Coppola's Apocalypse Now, and his trademark snappy, energetic racially driven drama. Lee is unapologetic, blunt and bold, as his film confronts head-on the trauma of Vietmam War and the contemporary discussion of White American values. I honestly am not that familiar with Lee's filmography, but I wish the film could have been a bit more concise and as tightly focused as BlacKkKlansman. Its strong, powerful thesis feels compromised by its loose, floaty, disconnected dots that make it feel like the film was trying to cram and say too many things all at once. But at the same time, I really appreciate the film's original take on the subject. Tons of films talk about Vietnam, dissecting its politics, casualty, physical/psychological repercussions and its moral ambiguity, none as I can recall was told through black perspective, with black people and their lives, their experiences as the center stage. It's a part of our history, often ignored, that is very much needed to be seen, told, documented, and dramatized as much as anybody else's.
I've heard people say with its message and theme and everything that's going on in this world, Lee couldn't have picked a better or more suitable time to release his film. But the thing is it's not a coincidence. It's not happy accident, a smart marketing or anything. It's not revolutionary and it's not something new either. It doesn't introduce new issue, but instead it's a recent, constant reminder of problems, of things that have always existed. From the days of slavery to Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam to Seattle, racial discrimination and disproportion will never go away unless we educate ourselves, learn, and empathize with each other. And in one way or another, pieces of art, the likes of Do The Right Thing, Blackkklansman, and Da 5 Bloods, can be an important tool for us to understand and move forward together, one step at a time.