A woman named Lucy, (Scarlett Johansson) living in Taiwan, has a shady boyfriend named Richard, (Pilou Asbaek) who she’s only been dating for a week. Richard wants Lucy to deliver a briefcase to Mr. Jang. (Min Sik Choi) Jang is too frightened to open the package himself, so he makes Lucy open it. The suitcase contains CH4, a synthetic drug, which Jang wants to ship across Europe, and create a new addiction for kids. Jang wants to use Lucy, and three others, as drug mules and sews the drug into her stomach. Unbeknownst to Jang, the drug has the ability to enhance the capacity of the brain that is used by humans from 10 percent to 100 percent. While in captivity, Lucy gets beaten up by Chinese drug dealers, and the CH4 seeps into her system, and transforms Lucy into an omnipotent woman, bent on revenge on Jung and sharing her new found knowledge with world renowned theoretical scientist , Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) Does she get her revenge? Does she get to share her boundless knowledge with society?
I have very mixed feelings about Lucy. It’s very much like Limitless with Bradley Cooper in concept, but Limitless was actually a better movie. I resented the fact that Lucy began this movie as a dumb blonde party girl, literally a deer in the headlights, that’s a pernicious stereotype for a woman to overcome. This movie tried to combine too many genres, action, science fiction, and art house, in trying to please everyone, it ended up pleasing no one. The sequences with Scarlett Johansson were fun, it’s nice to see a female protagonist in an action movie, but the movie’s scope was too broad, it literally tried to account for all human history, and that was too much. The science was gobbledygook, and sounded more like philosophy. Also, when the French detective was introduced, the story became much too conventional, and it suffered for it.
Scarlett Johansson did what she could with a poorly written script and bad direction, she has a very emotional and touching speech with her mom early on in the film, but as her powers grow, she becomes emotionless, almost robotic, I’m sure that was the direction she was given, or the way the script was written. Johansson handles the action sequences with aplomb, and seems to relish the hero role. She’s not sharing the screen with Avengers in this film, and she carries the film. Morgan Freeman is good at taking outlandish sounding dialogue and making it sound plausible, there’s no exception here. Amr Waked seems uncomfortable and adds little as Pierre Del Rio. I really liked him in Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, but he does not make his presence felt here.
The direction by Luc Besson is too artsy, he puts in these visual vignettes in the middle of some scenes to explain the mood, it’s a totally unnecessary flourish and becomes distracting. His direction of the actors was probably overdone as well, when a film features Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson, he didn’t need to do much. His script was weak, and his over visualization while pleasant to look at, is way over the top. It was a box office smash, due in large part to Ms. Johansson. There will be a sequel.
Lucy: This movie’s got some splainin’ to do.