A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
Writer/director, Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Professional), comes out swinging in this modern tale of accelerated human evolution. One could argue the accelerated skill and beauty of the film’s lead, Scarlet Johansson, who does a wonderful job as Lucy. Set within the ruthless Korean drug trade, Mr. Jang (Min-Sik Choi, Oldboy, I Saw the Devil), essentially kidnaps several foreign nationals, has a new synthetic drug surgically inserted into their stomachs, and puts them on flights spanning much of Europe. Our reluctant American protagonist, Lucy, receives a brutal beating while still in the care of Jang’s sub-thugs, and it’s here that things get awesome. The rare drug inside Lucy’s stomach, ruptures, sending the experimental new drug into her system. The drug impacts Lucy on a grand level, allowing her brain to suddenly increase its limited capability.
Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman, a scientist dedicated to the study of human evolution and its inherent brain power. Norman claims the average human brain only uses 10% of its potential, effectively allowing dormant powers to remain locked. His theories are fun for science-fiction based action films, but human actually use more than that just sleeping. For the sake of cinema, pretend the 10% claim is true; the film takes on a whole new level of entertainment.
Besson provides Lucy with a voice-over narrative about human evolution, all the time showing prey animals on the receiving end of assorted tigers and other big cats. The theme of the hunter and the hunted, human innovation, and our reaction to harsh or pleasant surroundings, all goes far to offer the viewer with a very specific or train of thought, one that you’ll go back to after the film’s insane climax.
I heard a lot of audible crowd reaction throughout the intense parts of the film, so much, in fact, that I asked a couple of randoms their opinion after the movie. Almost as if on cue, the gentlemen gestures to his girlfriend and says “Go ahead, you’re the one with the Master’s Degree.” Besides stating the film didn’t have enough hand-to-hand fighting, this young woman responded with anything but human evolution or the crux of the film’s message. Sigh. Merica.
There’s too much going on in Lucy to spoil, so I’m relying on you, my humble and intelligent viewers, to get what Besson is laying down. The sci-fi element is truly fascinating, one that had my mind racing at times. His action scenes and hyperactive editing style fits Lucy like a glove. I found myself smiling from ear to ear on occasion, and it’s rare for me to get so excited during nearly anything at the local Cinemark. Besson’s science fiction heavy action is threaded together with great skill, even channeling a little Akira as my friend, Jake, stated.
Try not to over-think Lucy and just enjoy the ride. You won’t need 90% of your brain to enjoy this engaging story of a beautiful woman learning the secrets behind a billion years of evolution. Scarlet Johanssen is breathtaking and confident as the reluctant drug mule turned all-powerful meta-human. Fans of Besson’s earlier films will appreciate the run-time and streamlined delivery. Great film.