LUCY surprised me and I liked it a lot more than I anticipated. It’s not perfect but it at least is trying something different by mashing up hard sci-fi philosophy with over the top action. It’s like MATRIX-lite and has a lot more on its mind than most summer popcorn flicks.
A little on the vapid side and a tad too trusting, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) allows a man she just met to put her in harms way. Spared a quick death, she is instead kidnapped by a Korean gangster and used for a drug mule.
A pouch of a new drug called CPH4 is literally sewn into her abdomen but when the bag accidently bursts the toxic drug gets into her system. A synthetic form of the chemical found in utero, the drug slowly unlocks all the capabilities of Lucy’s brain.
We learn from Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) that human’s only use about 10% of our brain’s abilities. He goes on to theorize about what could happen if we could utilize all 100%. Unbeknownst to him, he will soon find out when his world suddenly coincides with Lucy’s.
The first half of the film is primarily a crime drama with bits and pieces of Norman’s lectures scattered throughout, priming us for what’s to come. Once Lucy begins to change the movie veers down some paths that most won’t be expecting based on the extremely action film oriented trailers.
I didn’t expect the film to go as far into the scientific and philosophical elements that it teases at in the first half, but I was happy it did. Lucy isn’t ultimately what I signed up for, it actually was better and more thoughtful and intelligent than anticipated.
Mind you it’s still an action film written and directed by Luc Besson who’s not known for subtlety. But with that said the movie twist in different ways than one would suspect and that alone was refreshing. Most films of this type are very predictable or by the numbers. LUCY marched to its own drummer and for that I give it credit.
The one thing I found odd is the casting of Johansson. Not that she isn’t good. As a matter of fact she alone carries the film. It’s just weird casting on the heels of both CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER and UNDER THE SKIN both released earlier this year. The character of Lucy is a perfect combo of both the kick-ass Black Widow and the uncomfortable in her own skin Alien. I kept on thinking this could be a precursor to either film or even one to HER (2013).
All joking aside, LUCY is better than I expected and worth seeing. A fun action/sci-fi piece that though clunky at times, ultimately manages to mix the genres ina unique way.