Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Analeigh Tipton
When Lucy (Johansson) is duped into delivering a suitcase full of smart drugs to a Taiwanese gangster, she awakes to find the drugs have been sown inside her stomach. She's become an unwilling drug mule, ordered to take the drugs to Europe, but when a would be rapist kicks her in the stomach, the drugs are absorbed into her system, giving her the ability to harness an increasing amount of her brain-power, turning her gradually into a God-like superhuman.
When it comes to selecting titles for his movies, Luc Besson has to be the laziest filmmaker out there. Of his 17 directorial outings, no less than 11 have been named after their protagonists. The latest is Lucy, named for the American leopard print clad bimbo played by Johansson, who happens to share her name with the first ever human, who appears in the movie a couple of times herself.
How exactly does Johansson find herself in the company of a 3.2 million year old ape, you might well ask. To fully explain would take up too much of both my time and yours, and would make this review as tedious as the film itself. Suffice to say this is Besson's Tree of Life, but sadly it's nowhere near as deliciously bonkers as that concept might suggest.
It is somewhat nuts, but in a calculated way that resembles a directorial form of acting drunk. Like Ken Russell's great Altered States, Lucy is based on the premise that taking the right drugs can help you skip a few links on the evolutionary chain, though sadly we don't get to see Johansson turn into a neanderthal on a bad trip. Instead it's the audience that gets to experience a bad trip.
The plot feels like something Besson overheard at a frat party attended by failing chemistry students. It's so dumb it should result in an insanely compelling movie, but Besson is far too sober and controlled a filmmaker for this sort of material, and insists, mainly through Morgan Freeman's scientist, on trying to convince us we're watching something that makes rational sense. He's so focused on explaining the laughable "science" of his story that he doesn't seem to care about spinning a plot that isn't riddled with plot-holes, the most gaping of which has us asking why Lucy doesn't kill a certain character when she has the chance.
Besson makes it impossible for us to care about Lucy's plight because not only does she appear to be indestructible, but she's a narcissistic sociopath who directly and indirectly causes the deaths of scores of innocent bystanders.
Like 2011's Limitless, Lucy is based on the ludicrous notion that humans only use 10% of our brain power. After watching the movie, I felt like I had lost 90% of my brain cells.
By Eric Hillis