Following the journey of four African-American veterans as they travel back to Vietnam to search for what their former squad leader left behind, the film connects the turmoil of the Vietnam War period to what’s happening to black Americans today, a la Lee’s previous film, BlacKkKlansman.
“People are more apt to enjoy a historical piece if in some way, shape or form, you can slip in what’s happening now,” Lee said. He went on to say that while Da 5 Bloods‘ release had nothing to do with the current protests against police brutality shaking up the United States and the world, the timing “couldn’t be better. I truly think that a lot of what’s in the film is why people are marching all across this world, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter.’ And in many cases, those are black and brown faces yelling ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
Host Trevor Noah asked Lee how the experiences of black veterans informed the film and Lee pointed out that the first person to die for the American Revolutionary War — Crispus Attucks, in the Boston Massacre — was a black man. “From the very beginning, we’ve been fighting for this country!” Lee stressed. “We’ve been fighting for this country that doesn’t fight for us. We’ve been loving this country that doesn’t love us.” Lee criticized Donald Trump (a.k.a. “Agent Orange”) labeling Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests as “unpatriotic.” “It’s about the same thing people are marching for across the streets, in this world,” he said.