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A young woman is forced to become a drug mule, but when the drugs leak she is given the capability of using 100% of her brain function.
Review (with Spoilers)
When it comes to actresses, Scarlett Johansson is probably one the most consistent. For whether she is in the Marvel blockbusters, films like Her, or even films like Don Jon, she not only finds herself in good movies but also movies where the female lead isn’t regulated to solely being a generic love interest. Her roles usually transcend expectations by presenting social commentary; presenting new angles to the love interest archetype; or being a woman who not only kicks ass but also has a personality. Focusing on Lucy, the best way to think of Johansson in this film is to look at how Angelina Jolie was when she did a lot of action movies.
Characters & Story
From what we can tell, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is on vacation in Taiwan and has found herself a boyfriend in Richard (Pilou Asbaek) who is a bit shady. So shady that after dating Lucy for a week he asks her to deliver something to a man named Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi), of which he won’t reveal what she is delivering. And being that she maybe blonde but not stupid, she says she isn’t for delivering something she doesn’t know the contents of. But, with Richard handcuffing her to the briefcase with the stuff, and only Mr. Jang having the code to unlock the case and give her freedom, she is forced to see the mysterious mobster leading to her becoming a drug mule who accidently ends up feeling the full effect of the product she was supposed to smuggle. Thus allowing for her to develop X-Men type powers of which she needs Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to help her understand for as much as her brain function becomes an asset, it also poses as a liability.
As Angelina Jolie exits being the queen of the action genre, it seems Johansson is more than capable of taking her throne. But while Jolie relied on her fierce capabilities, as much as her sexuality, Johansson as Lucy is more so focused on doing what is needed to survive, as well as understand her increasing capabilities. Of which leads to use seeing her powers which are so extraordinary that you have to give it to the stunt team and visual effects artist for between dismantling guns with her mind, going back through time, and then the fight scenes. Johansson may not be as agile in the film as she is within the Marvel universe, but what she lacks in acrobatic maneuvers she makes up in by coming off as an utter badass.
Lastly, I must say the film did contain a bit of humor which had a Marvel vibe to it. You know, the type of humor which sort of feels out of place and just shakes things up so you don’t feel as if it is just Lucy traveling, shooting people, using her powers, and repeat.
As for the story, it tests your ignorance on the brain’s capabilities a bit and tries to create this idea where if you used 20% more brain power you would start to become like Professor X, or another mental power focused mutant. Which, again, leads to cool visual effect tricks, but by the end of the film the story does begin to just seem like it is losing its ability to be compelling and is just about ready to veer off a cliff.
Though perhaps the main issue I had was with us seeing the full capabilities of Lucy’s powers. If just because some of them just don’t seem believable. For example, she somehow is capable of hacking a TV, radio, and Professor Norman’s cell phone from Taiwan while he is in Paris; she can touch someone, sometimes not even touching their skin, to read their minds; and yet is so destructive. Which I found to be a sort of plot hole because it made it seem she was selective to use the powers which would make sense. Like, she has high reflexes right, can life things with her mind, and has hacking abilities, so explain to me why she is causing multiple car accidents when she could just switch traffic lights to be in her favor, life cars, and keep it moving? Also, why does she kill people when she has the power to change people minds, much less she could just break their limbs? Then, there is the question of why she let Mr. Jang chase her all over the world and not wipe his memories? And it is just little stuff like that, which you think about after the movie is over, which sort of ruins the experience a little bit.
Overall: TV Viewing
What makes this a TV Viewing film is because it does show itself as something different by not having Johansson simply be some sexy action star, but with that comes her going from this innocent girl to being a cold calculated robot which kills a lot of her charisma. Then, on top of that, the story itself, even if you aren’t that heavy into biology, feels like it pushes the idea of what the human brain is capable of past what it likely can do. Add on that her powers aren’t utilized in such a way which makes sense and you are left with a film which is good enough to watch, but isn’t worth putting on your to watch list. For while the visual effects are cool, and there are nice comedic moments filtered throughout, by the end, it the movie loses a lot of its luster and thankfully ends before it fully wears out its welcome. Hence the TV viewing label.
“What makes us, us is primitive. It’s all obstacles.”
— Lucy (2014)
“Are humans more concerned with having than being?”
— Lucy (2014)