DA 5 BLOODS*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film starts with archival footage of famous black figures (Muhammad Ali, ) discussing their opposition to the Vietnam War, stating that black men are forced to fight for a country that discriminates them and killing innocent people that they have no qualms with.
In Ho Chi Minh City, four old friends and GI’s, the Bloods – Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr) – reunite after a long absence apart. Their goal is to find the remains of their squad leader Stormin’ Norman Holloway (Chadwick Boseman) and to find a hidden cache of gold, with the intent of bringing Norman home for a proper burial. The men gather in a bar and catch up. Paul is staunchly conservative and expresses anti-immigrant and pro-Trump statements. They are met by their guide Vinh (Johnny Tri Nguyen), who will take them through the jungle where they will find Norman’s remains. As they leave the bar, a one-legged teen throws firecrackers and mocks the GI’s.
A flashback shows the Bloods as their chopper flies toward their destination, the site of a CIA plane crash. They are shot down by Viet Cong allies and their chopper crashes. The Bloods come out and engage in a firefight with the enemy and kill them all. They enter the plane and discover the huge cache of gold bars. They were given to the Lahu people to aid the Viet Cong in the fight, so Norman proposes to the other men that they bury the gold and go back for it later, claiming to their superiors that the VC already got it and keep the gold for themselves as a “fuck you” to them for forcing them to fight their war.
Otis meets with his former lover, Tien (Le Y Lan), as she is acting as the middle woman between the Bloods and a French businessman named Desroche (Jean Reno), who is intent on purchasing the gold from them. A young woman, Michon (Sandy Huong Pham), comes in and greets Tien, who introduces her to Otis. He is quick to realize that she is his daughter with Tien. After Michon exits, Tien mentions how the girl was ridiculed as a child for her mixed heritage. Michon later asks Tien about Otis as well, but Tien doesn’t feel that they need to be involved in each other’s lives.
The Bloods join Tien as they meet with Desroche, who is trying to make his own negotiations in purchasing the gold from the men. Paul argues with Desroche over his offers, but they all reach an agreement. Later, the guys are surprised to find Paul’s son David (Jonathan Majors) has shown up after learning his father was taking the trip. Paul and David have always had a rocky relationship, and Paul is none too pleased at the thought of having to split his cut with David.
The Bloods travel with Vinh across the river towards rural Vietnam. David chats with Otis, who says that Paul was never the same after Norman died. They both claim to have heard Paul call his name in his sleep. Another flashback shows how close the two of them were, not only as soldiers, but as friends. The five men had gathered around to listen to the radio and heard the report of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Despite their collective anger and distress, Norman keeps them all from getting too reckless.
On the river, a merchant tries to sell the men a chicken, but him getting too close to Paul triggers his PTSD, and he reacts aggressively toward the merchant. The merchant in turn yells that Paul (or some other GI) killed his parents. The other men calm Paul down, but he admits that he has been seeing Norman talking to him at night as he sleeps.
The group stops at a hotel and later go to the bar. David meets a French woman named Hedy (Melanie Thierry), who operates an organization called LAMB that diffuses bombs and landmines. She works with her two friends, Simon (Paul Walter Hauser) and Seppo (Jasper Paakkonen). The men have to leave after Melvin drunkenly makes a fool of himself.
The next morning, Vinh drives the men near the area where they had buried the gold. The land has since been eroded over time and has made it harder for the men to remember where they buried it. The men walk for a while but stop to set up camp for the night. They find a gun among Otis’s possessions that was given to him by Tien, leading to them becoming suspicious that she might have set them up, but Otis insists it is only for protection.
By day, the men continue their journey. David goes to defecate but ends up digging a bar out of the ground. The men rush over and begin digging, and sure enough, they find the gold. As they continue digging, they eventually find Norman’s tags and his bones. Paul weeps over his remains and leads the other men in prayer.
On the way back to the rendezvous point with Vinh, the Bloods start arguing over how they are going to divide their shares. Eddie gets fed up and tries to get them to love one another, but he accidentally steps on a landmine, blowing him in half. In the ensuing panic, David steps on another landmine, but he doesn’t set it off. Hedy, Simon, and Seppo then arrive and offer to help. Using an old tactic from a past experience, the Bloods get a rope to tie around David and have everyone pull hard. They succeed in pulling him off the mine before it blows up. However, Paul orders the others to tie the LAMB people up due to his continued paranoia. He keeps them there throughout the night, where Hedy tries to make an attempt to get out by flirting with David, but Paul catches this before David is fooled. Seppo manages to run away and disappear.
The following day, the Bloods make their way to the rendezvous point but are found by a group of gunmen who have captured Seppo and are demanding the gold in exchange for him, claiming it is rightfully theirs. The men get in a shootout where David gets shot in the leg, and Seppo tries running away but is blown up by a landmine. After the gunmen flee, Vinh says that Desroche may have double-crossed them, so they should make their way to a nearby temple for defenses while Otis suggests calling Tien for help. Paul thinks she’s the one who betrayed them, but when he sees that nobody else will continue to follow his lead, he sets off with his share of gold and heads off into the jungle by himself, crying and yelling out prayers. Afterwards, the others tend to David’s wound. Otis offers Vinh Eddie’s share of the gold, at which point Hedy says she and Simon want in as recompense for Seppo’s death.
Paul continues into the jungle, weary and growing delusional and speaking in monologues (almost as if speaking to the viewer) where he claims that God told Paul to forget his friends and look out for himself. Meanwhile, the rest of the group makes it to the temple for shelter. David expresses his poor relationship with Paul to Hedy. Elsewhere, other gunmen find the bodies of their own men and set off to kill those responsible. Paul gets his leg caught on a root and falls, causing him to lose his gold. He leaves it and continues walking. He then hallucinates that he sees Norman, standing before him with the gutshot that killed him. Another flashback shows that Norman was accidentally shot by Paul when an enemy attacked them and Paul had fired at him, but the gunfire struck Norman. Paul has felt guilty about it ever since, but Norman’s vision embraces him and tells him to let go of his guilt. The other gunmen then find Paul and force him to dig his grave and tell them where the gold is. He simply speaks in prayer and raises his arms, leading the other men to fill him with bullets.
Desroche and his men arrive at the temple to make the exchange. He assures the men that Tien had nothing to do with the gunmen being involved. After realizing he tried to have them killed, Otis and Hedy give Desroche a heavy bag that is just filled with rocks. A gunfight ensues, with the Bloods managing to kill Desroche’s men. Desroche throws a grenade, which Melvin jumps on to save his friends as it blows up. Desroche is about to shoot Otis, but David shoots him in the face first.
Vinh helps the Bloods, plus Hedy and Simon, get out and cash in the gold. They also return Norman’s remains to his sisters as they had promised, and he is given the burial he deserved. Melvin’s widow gets his share of the cash, while Eddie’s share goes to a Black Lives Matter organization. Hedy and Simon donate their share to LAMB in honor of Seppo. Otis rejoins Tien and decides to get to know Michon.
David reads a letter from Paul, where he expresses regret for how he treated him and for not being a better father. He mentions how Norman always taught the other Bloods to lead with love, and he assures David that he really did love him.
Four black former GI's - Paul, Otis, Melvin, and Eddie - return to Vietnam decades after the war to retrieve the remains of their squad leader Norman, as well as to recover a hidden cache of gold bars they were originally meant to retrieve, but decided to keep for themselves in response to the American government's mistreatment of black citizens.
Paul's son David joins unexpectedly and helps them recover the gold and Norman's remains. They start to argue over dividing shares, leading to Eddie's death when he steps on a landmine. David almost triggers one, but a trio of bomb removal specialists help get David off before it blows up. However, Paul becomes paranoid and obsessed with his share of the gold, so he holds the trio hostage.
The group is found by gunmen sent by Desroche, the broker who was going to purchase the gold from the Bloods. One of the trio is killed, and Paul sets off on his own after feeling he cannot trust the others. He is haunted by images of Norman, as it is revealed that he accidentally shot Norman after an enemy attacked. The vision of Norman tells Paul to let go of his guilt, but he is soon found by Desroche's gunmen and is killed. Desroche and his men find the rest of the group and engage in a shootout where most of the men are killed, but Melvin dies when he jumps on a grenade, and David kills Desroche by shooting him in the face.
The surviving group returns home with the gold and Norman's remains. The shares of the deceased go to their loved ones and charity. David finds a letter from Paul where he apologizes for being a bad father but assures David he always loved him.