Scarlett Johannson stars as Lucy, a girl who gets kidnapped in China after her boyfriend (of one week) tricks her into delivering a briefcase to a Chinese gangster. From there, she is forced into smuggling an experimental drug that accidentally overdoses into her system. The drug begins slowly but surely allowing her to access more than the 10% brain capacity allotted to humans. This leads to her essentially gaining superpowers, mainly the ability to control her own body chemistry and pretty much all matter.
Knowing what she can do, and how easily she can do it, is enough to kill some intrigue here. If you’re looking for an action movie, look elsewhere. She can drop an army with the flick of a wrist. If you’re looking for a mental thriller, look elsewhere. She is so intelligent that even the brightest minded characters in the film, such as Morgan Freeman’s Professor Norman, seem boring and useless. And because she is so smart and strong, there are no worthy adversaries.
If you’re looking for a Matrix-esque thought provoker, you’ll get what you want, but only in very small doses. A scene where Lucy explains to a group of scientists that numbers and equations are all manmade laws built to conform a reality that they can’t begin to fathom is perhaps the best moment in the film. And yet, instead of moments like this… we get inexplicable scenes where it seems as if director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional) only wants to show off his special effects budget. Why does someone who we’ve already seen defy the laws of physics need to lead a long and uber destructive car chase? Why does someone who lays out an entire room with the flick of the wrist allow gun toting henchmen to nearly spoil the one thing she feels the need to accomplish?
The film is just made of confusion and uselessness, even from a filmmaking standpoint. There are early jump cuts in the opening that involve predators and nature that make sense but serve no purpose in improving the narrative. And then, as if it was never used, the style vanishes. I had high hopes for this movie because I am a fan of the director. But, maybe instead of trying so hard to be a summer blockbuster, Luc Besson’s Lucy should’ve just tried to come up with a story worthy of its omnipotent main character.
FINAL GRADE: C, Wait for it on Redbox