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Black Lotus (Film Review)

2 min read

Courtesy of Strike Media

No, this is not a spin-off to the hit HBO show, unfortunately. Black Lotus is a by-the-numbers kidnap in the vein of Taken, starring a Dutch kickboxer who, while physically up for the role, isn't quite able to show the same range of emotions. 

Said kickboxer is , who plays Matteo Donner, a retired Special Forces operative who comes into conflict with a crime syndicate, led by 's Saban, after they target the daughter of somebody close to him. 

It's a copy-and-paste narrative outline, for sure. But Black Lotus' main problem is it doesn't even spend enough time creating a compelling thriller. For the first 45 minutes or so, bar a Tenet-esque opening in an auditorium, we just see montages of Amsterdam architecture and Rico's shredded form. It saves a Google Image search but it really doesn't bode well for getting you invested in the story. 

Courtesy of Strike Media

That story is also a bit of a mess, involving a ton of parts that don't fit together all that cleanly. The syndicate is a half-baked idea that's made out to be something more. The potential around a mole within the crime ring is squandered pretty early. Even flashbacks to Matteo's past don't give us much insight into him as his motivations for caring about the daughter of an old friend. Which, to be honest, aren't needed: not sure much justification is required for caring for the safety of a little girl. 

At least the picks up in the third act and is directed solidly. Music choices are a little early 2000s, but Verhoeven gets to show off his martial arts expertise. His brutality is pretty cool to see, as opposed to a John Wick and his balletic style. 

If you're someone who happens to live in the Netherlands, it's cool to spot familiar places. Overall, Black Lotus will never threaten to harm your intelligence. It just struggles to make a sum out of its parts. It's an okay film. And seeing as this lacks the star power or production value to at least give it some wow factor, that makes a pretty disappointing film. Not quite the knockout Verhoeven may have been looking for.

Black Lotus will be available on Digital Download from 19th June