Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: Lucy

Jul. 23, 2014by: Chris Bumbray
100%

PLOT: Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) – a young student living in Taiwan – is coerced into becoming a drug mule by a ruthless gangster (Choi Min-sik). When the contents of her package are absorbed into her blood, she suddenly becomes capable of unlocking dormant parts of her brain, making her virtually superhuman.

REVIEW: LUCY is not at all the film I was expecting, nor the film that Universal is so cannily marketing. The trailers would make you think this is an action thriller in the vein of director Luc Besson's LA FEMME NIKITA. Right off the bat it's clear Besson is going for something way different, with it opening on shot of what's supposed to be the first (neanderthal) woman, who a character helpfully explains has since been dubbed Lucy by modern scientists. Basically, the creature is supposed to the the mother-of-life, and this basically takes that idea and puts it in the form of a formulaic action thriller. Imagine TREE OF LIFE (right down to the dinosaurs) re-imagined as an eighty-minute action movie and you've got an idea of what Besson is going for.

Sounds like a mess, right? While it kinda is, LUCY also works better than you'd think, thanks to Besson clearly being reinvigorated by the potential of the premise. His last movie, THE FAMILY, was shockingly inept and virtually unwatchable, a depressing turn for a guy who used to be considered one of the best action directors in the world. While LUCY certainly won't get him back to where he was, it's a step in the right direction, in that it's often creative, and never, ever, boring.

The whole idea of humans only being able to use 10% of their brains is a lot of hokum, with Besson suggesting that as Lucy is able to use more of her brain (with us frequently getting titles telling us what level she's at – video-game style) she'll essentially become invulnerable. An example comes early on when she forces doctors at gun point to remove the drug pouch that's been sewn into her stomach. One look at the x-rays of a patient is enough to tell her that they're bound to die a horrible, drawn out death, so she calmly executes them in order to end their suffering. This is silly, but it actually sort of works. One of the most novel things Besson does is eschew big fight scenes the more powerful Johansson gets, as what's the point of getting into fisticuffs when you can simply freeze bad guys with your mind?

LUCY actually has a lot in common with TRANSCENDENCE, but this is actually much better. The idea that Lucy could ever lose her empathy as she becomes God-like is sidestepped by a subplot where she coerces a Paris cop (Amr Waked) into following her around so that she can have a constant reminder of her humanity at her side. Furthering the similarities is the fact that Morgan Freeman essentially plays the same part he did in that earlier film, with him being a scientist who conveniently has been researching Lucy's very affliction for years. While TRANSCENDENCE tried to incorporate a love story in order to give it some humanity, Besson skips over any romance in favor of keeping the film tight and lean (it runs a mere ninety minutes with credits), but strangely winds up being a far more compelling film.

Certainly, this is has to be the strangest summer film a big studio has put out in years, as Besson is never subtle in his ambitions for LUCY. These ambitions are often heavy-handed, and sometimes extremely goofy, such as an early scene where Lucy being roughed up by goons is juxtaposed against a pack of lions pouncing on their prey in the jungle. Yet, even at it's goofiest, LUCY is always entertaining thanks to the propulsive pacing (helped by longtime collaborator Eric Serra's excellent score). The only real sour note is that Korean superstar Choi Min-sik (OLDBOY) is utterly wasted in a generic bad guy part, which is a shame.

It'll be interesting to see how the audience that's being drawn-in by the fact that this is being advertised as a Scarlett Johansson action flick will feel about the exceedingly weird movie they'll wind up watching. At the premiere, it was greeted by rather confused applause, although love it or hate it you'll likely never be bored. For that fact alone, LUCY is easily Besson's best film since THE FIFTH ELEMENT, and shows that when he wants to, he can still deliver an extremely entertaining flick.

Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+0
1:53PM on 07/24/2014

Feels like a ripoff of SALT

Maybe it will be good, but every time I see the trailer in theaters I can't help but think of SALT.
Maybe it will be good, but every time I see the trailer in theaters I can't help but think of SALT.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:18PM on 07/24/2014
Wasn't Salt about a sleeper agent though? How are they similar aside from starring women?
Wasn't Salt about a sleeper agent though? How are they similar aside from starring women?
11:52AM on 07/24/2014
While it's useful to temper expectations, it sounds exactly like the kind of movie I was expecting. Right down to the Transcendence comparison, and the wasted Choi Min-sik (though I'd watch that guy in just about anything). These days I really have to hype myself up to get out to see movies in the theater, but maybe I'll watch this, just for good fun.
While it's useful to temper expectations, it sounds exactly like the kind of movie I was expecting. Right down to the Transcendence comparison, and the wasted Choi Min-sik (though I'd watch that guy in just about anything). These days I really have to hype myself up to get out to see movies in the theater, but maybe I'll watch this, just for good fun.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:07AM on 07/24/2014
Not sure if you were trying to knock the movie down a few pegs because it isn't the action thriller that was advertised. But your review has actually made this sound a lot better. Going to have to check this one out.
Not sure if you were trying to knock the movie down a few pegs because it isn't the action thriller that was advertised. But your review has actually made this sound a lot better. Going to have to check this one out.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:08AM on 07/24/2014
Female version of limitless?
Female version of limitless?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+3
11:11PM on 07/23/2014
Good enough for me. Watching Scarlett walk around with awesome power and kicking ass is worth the price of admission. The fact that it is coming from Besson and that it DOESN'T suck is enough to get me into the theater.
Good enough for me. Watching Scarlett walk around with awesome power and kicking ass is worth the price of admission. The fact that it is coming from Besson and that it DOESN'T suck is enough to get me into the theater.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:30AM on 07/24/2014
👍
👍
11:00PM on 07/23/2014
Looking forward to this. Seems like a different sort of action film of late with one of the most badass leading ladies of recent. And the fact that it just looks like a lot of pure, simple FUN.

But I also have a feeling this film is either going to make or break any chances of us fans getting a solo Black Widow film. Hopefully it's the former.
Looking forward to this. Seems like a different sort of action film of late with one of the most badass leading ladies of recent. And the fact that it just looks like a lot of pure, simple FUN.

But I also have a feeling this film is either going to make or break any chances of us fans getting a solo Black Widow film. Hopefully it's the former.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!