REVIEW: ‘Lucy’

Luc Besson
Scarlett Johansson
Morgan Freeman
Amr Waked
Min-sik Choi
Rated: R

Director Luc Besson’s latest film “Lucy” follows the title character played by Scarlett Johansson. A young woman who is living in Taiwan, Lucy’s life takes a turn for the worst when her boyfriend gets her caught up in the world of drug trafficking.

Lucy soon becomes a drug mule, having a package of drugs placed inside of her. The package soon breaks and the drug enters her system, which results in her brain capacity increasing. Through the rest of the movie Lucy’s brain capacity continues to rise nearer to 100%, and she has to figure out what to do with the knowledge she gains and take revenge on the drug gang.

The story of “Lucy” is already based on a concept that has been used before in other films. That fact is made even worse, though, by how this flick was executed.

Audiences very early on will find that Director Besson, decided to use stock footage at certain points of the movie for no real reason other than to have a visual parallel. For example, when Lucy is abducted by the drug gang, footage is shown of a cheetah pouncing on an animal. Sure its a symbolic parallel to what’s happening, but are they necessary? Not really.

Overused stock footage isn’t the only issue with how this film was laid out, however. The biggest problem is the character Lucy herself and the level of power she’s given. After 20 minutes in, her character is practically unstoppable which removes most of the conflict or tension.

One can argue that its somewhat of a race against time because she is looking for the other drugs, but as stated, there’s not much that can stop her. The ending didn’t work either, as it felt like just a recycled version of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Johansson’s career record speaks for itself. It’s obvious that she is a good actress. Unfortunately, the character Lucy doesn’t give the lead actress much room to work.

On top of being completely overpowered, Lucy also becomes void of all emotion or passion, as if she became a robot.

It’s not an uncommon concept for a character to gain a high amount of intelligence and/or telekinetic powers, but most of the time, they keep some semblance of energy and emotion.

Look at Tetsuo from “Akira,” Dr. Manhattan from “Watchmen,” the three teen protagonists from “Chronicle,” and Bradley Cooper’s character from “Limitless.”

All of these characters either become far more intelligent, far more powerful, or both, than the average person, and yet had an emotional core that connected with the audience.

The fact that Lucy doesn’t have this after she gets her powers makes it really hard to care about what’s going on.

At the very least, the supporting cast is able to provide some energy. A French cop who helps (term used loosely) played by Amr Waked was entertaining and Morgan Freeman is always good on screen.

Plus, Min-sik Choi, who played the lead gangster, gave a fiery performance. It’s just a shame that his villain wasn’t very threatening to Lucy. It’s like an average crook with a knife going against Superman.

The action in the movie was rather disappointing. Surprising coming from Director Besson who previously directed “The Fifth Element,” a film with plenty of fun hand-to-hand combat and shoot out scenes. The shoot outs in “Lucy” aren’t all that interesting and there wasn’t much in terms of hand-to-hand combat since Lucy can use telekinesis. There was even a car scene that, when compared to the great chase in this year’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” really falls flat.

“Lucy” has a couple interesting moment, the actors are trying to deliver something good and its fortunately only 90 minutes. The film is severely dragged down, though, by its overpowered, under-emotional main character, overuse of stock footage and an ending that felt rather cliche. Low 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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