Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
While the 10% brain power myth is a cool one, as displayed quite capably in the wonderfully stupid movie 'Limitless' a few years back, it is still nonetheless a myth.  But director Luc Besson is no fool.  Need to sell something that is patently false as fact, which is the entirety of the plot of his sci-fi-ish action film 'Lucy'?  Then prop Morgan Freeman up in front of an audience of super concerned onlookers and allow his smooth, comforting voice to explain in explicit detail how this falsity is God's honest truth.  I'm sold.  As a result, I'm pretty much sold on 'Lucy', just as I was sold on 'Limitless', which is also wonderfully stupid. 

Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) is a fun loving college student in Taiwan (?) who after a night of partying with her new boyfriend Richard (Pilou Sabaek) just wants to go home and get some rest.  Not happening.  Richard tricks Lucy into delivering a mysterious silver case to the very dangerous Mr. Jang (Min Sik Choi), and while it looked for a moment that this was about to get Lucy killed, like we've seen quite a number of people get killed up to this point, but Mr. Jang has other plans for Lucy.  Simply, Mr. Jang wants Lucy and a few other involuntary volunteers to be drug mules for this crazy experimental new narcotic that the kids are just gonna love when it hits the street.

Simple enough I guess, put these drugs in the tummies of these mules and send them on their merry way.  Unless some crazed psycho starts kicking people in their surgically repaired tummies, rupturing the drug bag and sending this drug coursing through the system of this mule.   What probably should've happened is that Lucy dies, but what ends up happening is that this drug has started unlocking precious percentage points in Lucy's brain, and now Lucy can see and do things that normal people simply cannot do.  Now I might've been a little confused about what is happening to Lucy at the moment, but fortunately the wise Professor Norman (Freeman) is off to the side systematically breaking down the theories of what the human brain could be able to do if it were able to access 20, 30, 40 or 50% of its brain power.  100%?  Even Professor Norman doesn't know that.  He's going to find out though.
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So Lucy has access to googobs of brain power, she can control her metabolism, she can think out the box like nobody ever has, she can control other people and she can even see Mother Gaia and all that is connected to her.  She also has a bunch of crazed Koreans on her tail who really want their drugs back.  Lucy on the other hand just wants… hell, I don't know what Lucy wants.  Like any rational person, she asked Morgan Freeman what she should do, because he is all knowing and stuff, but even he doesn't know what she should do.  Whatever Lucy and her super brain does decide on, because time is running out on her, a rocket launcher will somehow be involved.  I know, right?

So while 'Lucy' might not be the most original movie in concept, nods to other films we mentioned like 'Limitless', with a touch of Matrix here and a dash of '2001' there, at least writer / director Luc Besson has made a film that is original in the sense that at least it's not a sequel, remake, or adaptation.  Of course this is a EuropaCorp film which Besson pretty much owns, so if this is what it takes to make a semi-original film, then that's what it takes.  But we are thankful for at least that.

We are also thankful for a movie that entertains greatly, a movie that pretends to be smart, but really knows that it is not, and we are thankful for a movie that puts great actors in very familiar roles so that they don't really have to act.  Sure, Morgan Freeman's character has the name of Professor Norman, but is Professor Norman really all that different from the patriarchal, comforting, upper executive roles that Mr. Freeman has taken over the last decade or so?  I think not.  And if you've spent any amount of time watching Korean Cinema, then you already know Min-Sik Choi can sleepwalk his way through playing a rotten character and still do it better than 98% of all actors working today.   That's comforting for me.  For the first half hour Scarlett Johansson gave a fine performance as the perplexed Lucy, then she was pretty much directed to be robotic the rest of the way.  It worked though.

Another good thing is that while Lucy was accessing most of her brain power, we really needed only a fraction of our own fraction to get with this film.  What little in the movie that might have been intellectually challenging, Morgan Freeman already has explained to us, and Lucy's great brain power didn't stop her from shooting people in the face, driving cars real fast while causing mass destruction in the process, and wearing really tight skirts.  Lucy might be super smart, but she still knows she's super hot.  Then there was the end that went someplace I'm still not quite sure of.  Lucy tells us something like, 'you have the power of your brain, and now you know what to do with it'.  Sorry Lucy, I still don't know.  And lastly… USB Lucy?  Really?  Where's the redundancy?  That's not all that smart.

At the end of it all, 'Lucy' is a fun movie crafted by a director who knows how to have fun making a movie.  Maybe not as bright as it would like us to think it is, but still fun to sit through.
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