- Scarlett Johansson as Lucy
- Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman
- Choi Min-Sik as Mr. Jang
- Amr Waked as Pierre Del Rio
Lucy comes courtesy of director Luc Besson and emerges as a wholly ludicrous but enjoyable action/science fiction film. It’s big ideas and imaginings get a bit over the top and out of control, but some curious theories, bright visual palette and Scarlett Johansson as the eponymous character, more than engage with you, even when the overall film itself gets wildly uneven.
Lucy is an American woman, studying in Taipei. The film starts as her latest boyfriend and slime ball coerces her into delivering a mysterious case to a shady man named Mr. Jang. Lucy doesn’t want to do it, but her beau handcuffs her to the case leaving her with little choice. After this, Lucy is kidnapped by Jang’s associates, who it transpires are all in the Mob. Along with a few other men and through force, a bag of drugs is sewn into her system, and she must act as a drugs mule, otherwise those closest to her will be killed. During a torturous isolation, Lucy is severely beaten by the guards. One of these moments has big consequences, as the drugs that were implanted in her for trafficking burst and leak into her bloodstream. Quickly, Lucy grows incredibly powerful and escapes. From this moment on, her abilities advance alarmingly with her being able to not feel pain, manipulate objects and people and become almost impervious to harm. As she unlocks more of her brain power, the dangers arise as no one is sure just what will occur when she hits the highest level of brain activity. Professor Norman, a respected scientist who has studied topics relating to the powers of the cerebrum, becomes fascinated and curious of this young woman and just what she is capable of. On top of this, the mobsters are on her tail, which combines with her attempting to discover more about her accelerating powers. The main question is, just what will transpire and how dangerous will it be when Lucy reaches 100%?
Luc Besson has always been a stylish director, which he shows off again generously here. Yet while his direction is far from his best as it leaves things a little too ambiguous, his penchant for strong female warriors remains in a great quantity. The presence of the what if possibilities of the human brain(taking cues from the myth referred to in the film that humans use just 10% of their brain functions) act as both a string to the film’s bow and something that drags it down. It’s hard to explain as it ends up a bit of a mixed exercise in storytelling and ideas it brings into play. Lucy excels the most when delivering action and thrills, of which many can be gleaned. Also when it poses some philosophical questions regarding existence and time, the film shines. A great example is a scene near the end that is visually arresting and compelling to watch, but I won’t spoil it in case anyone hasn’t seen it. The film as a whole is more than a bit messy, but that scene is ace. Yet for all the probing of matter that goes on, the science and events grow absurd and a little repetitive, mainly in the mid-section. Still, somehow I couldn’t divert my eyes from Lucy, which suggests that it at least made some impact on my viewing experience. The most arresting and attention grabbing element of Lucy was the general unpredictability arising from what Lucy’s powers and capacities would reach too, and how many were exhibited with science fiction flair. These moments were resplendent with verve and sparks of imagination, that rose above the jumbled science and lack of real logic. The visual side of Lucy is superbly designed and detailed, particularly the shots of Lucy’s body on the inside as power and acceleration take their place in her blood through rapidly speeding shocks of light that keep going and increasing. A pounding soundtrack hits just the right feelings of something mysterious and dangerous about to hit.
Scarlett Johansson is one of the best things in Lucy. As the title character, she has enough charisma and presence to make the part memorable. The luscious Johansson is most adept at displaying Lucy’s shift from waif like innocent to omnipotent being with a detached confidence; as Lucy’s emotions thaw and all that makes her human is replaced by knowledge and steel. Some will say that she is a blank slate, but her intense eyes and focused demeanor boost the character to something else that other actresses would not have been able to do. Morgan Freeman is given scant material in a pretty thankless role, but in a style typical of him, he makes what he has good and filled with the intelligence we have come to associate with the great man. Choi Min-Sik is effectively used as the nasty mob boss who tangles with Lucy, while Amr Waked suffers from a badly written part of a police captain caught up in everything, yet at least attempts to ring something true out of it.
It’s completely barmy and preposterous, which both helps and weakens the film, but there is enough action and points of interest to be found in Lucy. Plus, the allure of Scarlett Johansson in the title role bolsters it significantly. It’s messy and scattershot, but I found myself largely entertained throughout this outrageous venture.