Review: Lucy

Lucy

The first trailer for Lucy looked like Luc Besson’s reinterpretation of 2011’s Limitless – crazy pills, increased brain activity, and super human abilities – but Lucy is more of an odd sci-fi story than an action filled revenge tale.

The aforementioned trailer doesn’t hide much of the film’s plot. Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is used by Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) as one of his drug mules for a new drug called CPH4. The drug leaks into Lucy’s body allowing her to access more of her brain. As Lucy connects with more parts of her brain, she begins to evolve physically and mentally.

With the help of Captain Del Rio (Amr Waked) and her new found abilities, Lucy heads to Paris to intercept the other drug mules before Jang and his goons can get their hands on it.

Increased brain capacity in sci-fi films usually follow the same tropes that include increased ability, the subject becoming so advanced they’re less human, and they’re body and/or brain failing them. Lucy is no different.  The film finds enough time fit in every one of these tropes.  Lucy even has a literal meltdown on a plane.

When Lucy isn’t spaced out or looking around like it’s the first time she’s ever left the house, she’s spouting ideas about evolution and life to anyone willing to listen. Nobody really seems to care, they just listen out of fear she’ll disintegrate them if they don’t.

What makes Lucy’s journey to 100% brain function interesting is the things she’s able to do as her usage increasing. Lucy has a crazy driving scene through Paris (I’m sure she killed a few dozen people), a few shootouts, and nice scene in Time Square. The Time Square sequence makes no sense, but is probably the best looking scene in the film.

The film benefits with a lot of the cutaways to nature and science to illustrate what’s being narrated on screen. Even the scenes with Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) giving his lecture are interesting and add substance to the story. None of those scenes are exciting but they give an idea of what story Luc Besson is trying to tell. Apparently a story about human evolution.

Thanks to Johansson’s time as Black Widow, she’s able to pull off the action scenes very well. Too bad there’s not enough of them.

Now, what makes Lucy’s journey a head scratching one is everyone around Lucy losing their ability to ask common sense questions. The main question being, “What the hell is going on?” Nobody seems to question anything that happens around her. An entire group of Taiwanese gangsters loads their guns in front of a college on a sunny Paris afternoon. No questions. Lucy walks into a hospital with a loaded gun. Nobody says a word. Lucy starts melting away on a plane. Not a peep from anyone – they’re concerned she’s not in her seat. The absolute silence as Lucy performs, what most people would call witchcraft, in broad daylight is absurd. Lucy uses her powers to place the gangsters on the ceiling. Nobody mentions her powers to Mr. Jang….nobody. It’s absurd to the point it’s not clear if Lucy is dreaming after being knocked out in Jang’s office.

Lucy starts off as an action film then takes a really hard left on Wacky Sci-Fi Lane.  It may be too much for people who were expecting to see Scarlett Johansson on NZT for 90 minutes. Lucy will be very frustrating for anyone expecting to see that.  If you’re up for a film that discusses cell activity, evolution, and what humans should do with information, Lucy may be the film for me. For everyone else, I think Limitless is on Netflix streaming.

C+

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