Craig's Screening Room: "Lucy"

Photo Credit: Photo by Jessica Forde - © Universal Pictures

Scarlett Johansson uses more than 10% of her brain in “Lucy” but even better is the fact that Luc Besson is using more than 10% of his. While not as good as his best (“The Professional”, “The Fifth Element”), it’s a world of a time better than “The Family” and much less boring than one he wrote for Kevin Costner back in February (“Three Days to Kill”). Of course he’s become sort of an assembly line for fast, undemanding action films and “Lucy” is no different but as far as ideas go, it’s sorta crazy-stupid, but in a good way.


Lucy (Johansson) is a young woman living abroad in Taiwan when she is roped into delivering a briefcase of drugs to an Asian cartel boss (Choi Min-Sik). It doesn’t go well. Captured and brought up to his hotel suite, our first glimpse of Jang is bloody hands and a bunch of hacked up corpses on the floor. Besson keeps the tension high in these early moments; also later when Lucy wakes up to find that her stomach has been cut open, the drug stored inside her intestine, and she is expected to be a mule for the cartel.


Her package becomes much more than she bargained for when some thugs get rough with her. The bag breaks, spreading throughout her body. Soon she is able to remember things from when she’s a baby, she can feel the Earth move, she can block pain. During a lecture, a professor of the brain (Morgan Freeman) says that at 40%, we are able to control people and matter with our minds. For Lucy, that becomes a possibility at just below 40.


Lucy must attain more of the drug or risk literally coming apart like floating sand (the basis for a very cool effect that happens mid-way through the film). The cartel is also after the other packages, which have been dispersed inside other mules. And of course Freeman's professor enters this mix too.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Besson is being serious (he has Lucy tearfully describe taking in her mother’s breast milk as a child), at others he probably should have just embraced the fun instead of the explanation, and some of the violence is of a thrill-less execution- style variety. But Johansson is game for everything that’s happening here, the effects are very cool, there is some humor, and the ending is unconventional (not sure if it makes sense, probably doesn’t, but it interested me). 


I’m surprised Universal would put this action movie up against a much bigger action movie in “Hercules”. It probably will wind up a distant second. Probably even better to save it for a rental. However, while I can’t really gush about it, it’s still a fairly entertaining, short little movie though.