“Black GI: is it fair to serve more than the white Americans who send you here? Nothing is more confused than to be ordered into a war to die without the faintest idea of what’s going on. I dedicate this next record to the Soul Brothers of the First Infantry Divisions. Be safe.”
These are the opening words of the trailer for Spike Lee’s latest film, Da 5 Bloods, spoken by “Hanoi Hannah,” who was a real-life Vietnamese radio broadcaster during the Vietnam War. Set to the Chambers Brothers’ psychedelic “Time Has Come Today,” the trailer gives us our first look at the story of four African-American Vets — Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) — who return to Vietnam, looking for buried treasure and the remains of their fallen squadron leader, played in flashbacks by Chadwick Boseman. The Vietnam they return to is not the one they remember: a shot of a Saigon McDonalds precedes real footage of violence and unrest. The Vets aren’t the same men they once were, either; Lee told Vanity Fair that Lindo’s character Paul is “a MAGA-hat-wearing motherfucker,” because “there are a small minority of black folks who drank the orange Kool-Aid.” Jonathan Majors co-stars as Paul’s son. The Netflix original — Lee’s first feature film for the streaming site — premieres June 12.