Luc Besson is a cult director. After all, movies like La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element have a cult following today. Like most movies in his oeuvre, Lucy follows the story of a daredevil female protagonist taking down the system. In Lucy, which is portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, the system is a drug cartel that specialises in using a special drug that is put inside gullible victims' abdomen while they fly out of Taiwan and into European countries to complete the transaction.
Things go wrong when the packet of drugs inside Lucy's abdomen shatters and enhances the use of her brain from the average human's 10 percent to near cent percent. It also turns her into a highly evolved brain processor and renders her with a few superhuman abilities. She then turns on the drug cartel while also leaving behind her brain for future use to mortal humans.
While the concept sounds good on paper, it loses its heft on screen. Besson tries his best to invest us in the science-fiction shlock that he's peddling (for the record, there is a growing belief among neurologists and scientists that humans use most of their brain capacity) but fails to do so. Even Morgan Freeman, who made us believe bullets could twist and turn in Wanted, cannot stop us from feeling that Besson is taking too much leeway with his subject. Freeman plays a scientist who tries to explain what exactly is happening to Lucy. Besson, too, does the same with footage of nature and the animal kingdom in a bid to simplify the sci-fi element of the movie.
What this means on screen is some wonderful action, good visuals and a storyline that is held together in place only because of Johansson's magnetic presence. In fact, the first hour sets up the movie quite nicely for something far more exciting than the eventual tepid and silly end where Besson goes completely meta on the subject.
It reminds one instantly of the other disastrous sci-fi flick Transcendence – easily the worst movie of the year – and the complications of pulling off evolved human intelligence on screen convincingly. Johnny Depp's presence wasn't enough to save Transcendence but Johansson might just be the factor that pulls in Lucy from the brink of extreme silliness.
The reviewer cannot really recommend this movie because its inherent flaw in putting together a good story makes it fatal. On the other hand,Lucy is not half as bad as Transcendence. This one will probably be good enough only for serious ScarJo fans.
Watch the trailer here