Taking the US by storm earlier this year (beating Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Hercules’ to the top of the box office), Scarlett Johansson continues her 2014 momentum in ‘Leon’ director Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’.
Lucy (Johansson) is a young woman living in Taiwan, who is tricked by her boyfriend into delivering a suitcase full of drugs. The recipients, suspicious of foul play, capture her and force her to transport the drugs across the globe in her stomach. However, an altercation causes the bag to burst, and the drug to enter her bloodstream. She soon learns that the drugs accelerate the brain’s capabilities, increasing brain function far beyond the standard 10%.
With new abilities and powers, Lucy seeks out a renowned scientist (Morgan Freeman) to find out what’s happening to her, and if it can be stopped before she dies.
Taking advantage of both the strength of its star, and the capabilities of its director, the story begins with a bang. A great premise, told with style and confidence sets us up for what should be a mix of superhero movie and 'Bourne' like action flick. Except, this never happens. Shifting gears awkwardly to something entirely different, what seemed to be a straightforward 'get the bad guys' plot becomes preoccupied with mankind's limitations, the dimensions of time, and the fabric of being. 'Transformers' this most certainly is not.
These are, of course, far too lofty questions to be answered even by Besson, and the film hurtles toward a final third that verges on the ludicrous.
For all the science babble (mostly spouted by Freeman, looking utterly disinterested from the start), there is the huge upside of Johansson's performance. In the early part of the film her performance is terrific, and while she doesn't go on to kick as much ass as you want her to, it's another reminder (along with the superb 'Under The Skin') that she is far better than some of the roles she has played in the past.
Two halves of different movies welded together, 'Lucy' shows promise but never delivers on it. While never having been a director that blends genres comfortably, Besson may have been better served crafting an action movie than delivering a 'movie science' lecture.