Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, Amr Waked
Release Date (US): 25th July, 2014
Company: Universal Studios
“Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?” – Lucy
After completing a string of screenplays already this year, Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) returns behind the camera to direct Lucy – a fast-paced sci-fi/action thriller. Starring Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers) in the titular role, the film follows a young woman who is forced to transport an experimental drug for the mob in Taipei. However, when the drug accidentally gets into her body, Lucy’s nervous system is drastically altered. Able to access increasing amounts of her brain’s potential, she begins to develop incredible abilities.
Based on a script written by Besson himself, Lucy abandons all rhetoric, drama, and character development in its tale, and instead favours pulsating action sequences backed by some terrific visuals. The film’s blistering pace and 84-minute run-time ensure that the story ticks over without much fuss, and it’s entertaining for a while. Sadly though, it begins to unravel after about 30 minutes, and descends into total madness by its conclusion.
You could argue that this could have been a far superior action flick, had Besson cut out some of the more outlandish sci-fi elements. While her abilities do provide great entertainment, there seems to be no control on what Lucy can and cannot do, and she ends up incredibly overpowered. So much so that the villains are completely useless against her – and require a number of plot holes just to provide any sort of threat.
“We humans are more concerned with having than with being.” – Professor Norman
On the back of some great work in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Scarlett Johansson displays her true star power once again in this movie. Left to carry almost all of the film single-handedly, she is a tour-de-force, turning in a versatile performance that ranges from delicate innocence to extreme intelligence, as the drug takes its hold on her character. After this, I, for one, am calling for a Black Widow spin-off.
The rest of the supporting cast is left with very little else to do. Morgan Freeman, while always nice to see, has an even more limited impact here than he did in Transcendence. Amr Waked (Salmon Fishing In The Yemen) is equally forgettable as Lucy’s French police ally, while Choi Min-Sik is all bark as the villain. Despite his limited screen-time, Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing)’s wonderfully smarmy drug dealer is the only other highlight.
Direction & Tone
While he never reaches the soaring heights of either Leon or The Fifth Element, Luc Besson still manages to carve out a fairly entertaining and visually superior action-popcorn flick with this movie. This may come as a bit of a surprise, given the director’s disappointing track record of late, but Besson’s light-hearted approach represents all of the best parts of this film – which is at its best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
- This movie is an infinitely more fun version of Transcendence. They’re equally beautiful, and share similar themes – but stuff happens in this movie. Cool stuff. With ‘splosions and shit.
- Watching this film only really requires 10% of the 10% of brain power accessible to humans. Just to clarify that’s like 1%. Y’all be jealous of my crazy maths skillz…
- Part of me is a little disappointed this movie didn’t revolve around a non-powered Scar-Jo kicking ass and taking names in the neon-lit background of Taipei. Kind of like if Luc Besson ever made a warped, action-packed sequel to Lost In Translation…
- Oddly, Besson isn’t doing too badly in 2014. Brick Mansions, although pretty awful at times, was still a fun ride, while 3 Days To Kill remains one of my surprise hits of the year. Not bad for the writer/producer behind the abysmal Taken 2.
Action-packed and completely ludicrous, Lucy never lets itself get bogged down by drama – or any real story for that matter. Scarlett Johansson (The Winter Solider) turns in another impressive lead performance and the visuals are great, but the rest is just silly.