I like Spike Lee. In general. I hadn’t been real enthusiastic about seeing this one, pigeon-holing it as a war movie. I was pleasantly surprised when it started. Hey. This is not a war movie at all, but a crime mystery. And it started off very good. Then it turned into a war movie after all. The denouement was weak and telegraphed and disappointing. Turns out the ‘war movie’ aspect was the best part.
The movie starts with an black man watching an old John Wayne movie on his tv. A war movie of course, and we come to find that the man watching fought as a member of the black unit, Buffalo Soldiers, in WWII. So we know right off that this will be a little bit of a different look at war than as displayed in the work of Wayne. Spike Lee, as always, has his particular point of view. Some may say, “agenda”. I don’t. Spike brings a needed perspective that should be paid attention to, when warranted .
Spike had his favorite Italian in the movie (John Turturro) – although the part was all of a few seconds. 40 Acres and a Mule got its social commentary in without too much interference from the movie itself. Wonder though, if Spike wanted to tell this story too much, and wasn’t able to tell it well enough as a consequence.