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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Lucy

LucyFrench auteur Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional) returns with the sci-fi/action film Lucy.  Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a 25 year old American woman, who finds herself forced to deliver a case of an experimental drug called CPH4 to Taiwanese gangster Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik).  Lucy finds herself captured and forced to smuggle the drug, which has been surgically inserted into her abdomen. During an assault by one her her captures, the drug is leaked into Lucy’s system, which steadily gives her increased brain capacity, effectively turning her superhuman.  Lucy teams up with Paris police detective Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked) to recover the other pouches of CPH4 and bring them to neuroscientist Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), all while Mr. Jang and his men give chase.

It was very easy to develop high expectations about Lucy.  Based on the advertising, Lucy is a female-lead action film from the director who arguably created the prototype for such films, with his 1990 French action/thriller Nikita.  However, while there are fun action set pieces in the film, Lucy turned out to be a film with a weird and often head-scratching science fiction premise.  The film doesn’t really get off on the right foot, with there being a very laughable shot of a horrible looking (and likely CGI) Neanderthal.  In fact, much of the first half of the film is marred by weird stock footage cutaways, most of which correspond to a lecture about cognitive development, given by Freeman’s character of Samuel Norman.  It almost seems that Luc Besson was trying to give a deeper and more artistic meaning to Lucy, but it wasn’t quite successful.

The film gets significantly more enjoyable once Lucy absorbs the drug and essentially becomes a superhuman action hero, who has telepathic powers and can instantly get information from computers.  The film also looks at how Lucy feels less emotion as she gets closer to 100% brain capacity.  In the character’s final real emotional moment, Lucy calls her mother and begins talking about all the memories she now has.  I’m not sure what Besson was trying to accomplish with this scene, but it was somewhat awkward watching Lucy say things to her mother, which would likely sound crazy to most people.

Lucy is at its best when it’s an action film, though the film seems more interested with the science fiction elements of the story.  In fact, the climax of the film gets quite weird and can easily turn off audience members, who were expecting the film to be non-stop action.  Even though he gets second billing in the film, there doesn’t seem to be much for Morgan Freeman to do, other than giving a lengthy lecture in the first act, before being relegated to reacting to Lucy.  As for Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) as the film’s antagonist, Mr. Jang only seems to be in the film to provide some conflict while Lucy discovers everything she could do with increased brain capacity.

On its surface, Lucy looked like a return to form for Luc Besson, who arguably hasn’t directed anything of note since 1997’s The Fifth Element (though he has produced some memorable films, such as The Transporter and Taken).  However, while there are some fun action set pieces in Lucy, the film ultimately gets lost in its sci-fi concept, which may be too weird for some to handle.

7 | FAIR 

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).