The setup of Lucy is crazy good. There’s no frivolous backstory setting up who Lucy is, and how she was so happy before she got thrown into this situation. Nope. It literally starts with Lucy’s “boyfriend” (they’ve only been dating for a week) trying to convince her to go into a building to drop off a briefcase. She doesn’t want to do it and asks questions like what’s in the briefcase and how much he makes for doing these kind of tasks. Lucy is as thrown into this situation as the audience is. I love it. Her “boyfriend” tries to convince her to do it, and once he fails to do so, he handcuffs her to the briefcase, forcing her involvement. She then enters the hotel and it all goes to hell pretty quickly.
It’s a fast and furious intro by director Luc Besson that is exciting and unique. He’s chosen the perfect heroine in Scarlett Johansson. After already transitioning onscreen from being a child star to a gorgeous female leading lady, whodyathunk that the girl from Lost In Translation would transition yet again to being the best action heroine in movies today? Scarlett was a decent actress in that Bill Murray flick, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but she’s in her element when she gets to be the sexy action star. She’s tremendously appealing as Black Widow in the Marvel movies, and here, she just jumps off the screen with her charisma.
The story keeps its barebones, rapid fire pace. A drug lord puts a bag of CH4 in her abdomen and she’s supposed to fly to another country with it, but that quickly doesn’t go to plan. She’s beaten in her holding cell, and the drugs leak into her body and turns her into a super human basically. Humans normally use 10% of their brain, but Lucy slowly goes beyond that (and the film tracks her percentage with title cards).
Of course, Morgan Freeman is here to explain that all to us. This man is obsessed with these brief roles in sci-fi movies lately. In the last year, Morgan has appeared in Oblivion, Transcendence, and now this, where he pops up as a knowledgable being who tries to help the hero. This one is better than those Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp bombs, but Morgan has to move on.
Lucy is tremendous fun, up to a certain point. In its climax, it suddenly gets all philosophical and attempts to explain the human mind. Yeah, no thanks. After seeing Interstellar this week as well, I appreciate that these big budget Hollywood films are making us think about our own existence and our role in the universe, but Lucy doesn’t really seem to sure about what it wants to say.
It’s also disappointing that a film that starts as such frivolous fun tries to turn itself into something profound in its final moments. It doesn’t work.