Luc Besson’s output as a writer (56 credits on IMDB) and producer (116 credits) is très formidable. I’m sure it isn’t far from the truth to imagine that his company Europacorp’s output keeps a significant portion of the French film industry in jobs, all year round. Still, the man’s record has been spotty as a director, Léon and The Fifth Element are classics, and La Femme Nikita does enjoy a certain cult status, but the same cannot be said for the rest of his back catalogue.
And now Lucy must join the rest of Mr. Besson’s directorial misfires.
The idea is pretty good actually and while Mr. Besson tries to do with Scarlett Johansson what Neil Burger failed to do with Bradley Cooper in Limitless, the outcome is similarly unimaginative.
The idea is simple: a young woman (what is a 25-year-old studying in Taiwan anyway?) is forced to become a drug mule and when a would be molester is rebuffed he does the only manly thing left for him to do, and kicks the shit out of her. The bag containing the drugs ruptures inside her body and Lucy begins to access those parts of her brain that lie dormant in the rest of us.
And that’s fine. If the movie had been a wee bit entertaining.
The film plays really well until Lucy’s interface with the drug, especially since the Korean baddies do not handle the movie star with kid gloves. Ms. Johansson’s discomfort feels real during her capture and conscription but it all becomes way too New Age-y the moment drug takes control. Her robotic line readings are probably supposed to tell us that she is losing her humanity as she increases her brain power but really she used her voice to way better effect when we couldn’t see her (in Her).
Morgan Freeman, Min-skin Choi, Amr Waked, a whole raft of dodgy special effects, and way too much philosophical mumbo-jumbo later, we are not left with a lot more than what the trailers show us.
Final Analysis: The movie is not long but the way it all plays out I can’t help wondering whether they struggled to even get it to this length. There just isn’t any substance to Lucy, which is an ironic tie-in with the way the movie ends.
My Advice: Skip right past this one and spare your brain cells.