Luc Besson directing a Rated R movie with Scarlett Johansen playing a reluctant drug mule named Lucy who is accidentally gets infected by a experiment drug that makes her use more of her brain than anyone else managed to make more money than a PG-13 movie about Hercules staring The Rock.
The movie is small from beginning to end.
Lucy is a college student living in Taiwan when her seedy boyfriend gets her to deliver a package of drugs to his drug dealing boss.
This ends just as horribly as one might think with Lucy waking up after being operated on with the drugs in her stomach.
Everything is going perfectly fine until the Lucy’s unnamed middle man captor abuses her before getting on the plane and the bag of drugs get into her system.
Up to this point, Lucy has been unwillingly and at a severe disadvantage. The film emphasizes this by cutting between Lucy and shots of animals either grazing or about to get dead by a more powerful animal.
While that happens to Lucy, we are introduced to Morgan Freeman doing Morgan Freeman scientist and explaining to a group of scientists and students what may happen if someone used more brain capacity. He points out quite easily: it’s all science fiction.
This a subtle nod to the audience saying: we have no idea what’s gonna happen but it’s gonna be fun so stop bitching about the whole %10 of our brain thing.
Lastly, we learn one thing: when you don’t get Weta to do your ape SFX, it hurts.
Getting back to Lucy, her body going through the changes was a nice scene without going overboard.
The drug isn’t the downside to the movie.
In fact, the drug helps ground the movie.
It grounds the movie because once you have super powered character they get really boring until they’re fighting someone else or you give them a handicap for all that power.
It may make you smart but it’s going to eat you up. So no Doctor Who running around solving everything, you’re on a clock.
This little tidbit brings up a great theme of: reproduce or be remembered. Those expecting a steaming sex scene from this Rate R movie is in for disappointment.
The smallness of the movie helps since it’s focused on Lucy, Morgan Freeman playing the scientist, the French Cop responsible for apprehending the other drug mules and the drug lord that Lucy returns to see after she gets her brain bump.
The problem with the brain bump is it eats away at her humanity and she sounds like a dull version of herself with this thousand yard stare and able to do all sorts of things like telekinesis and see wi-fi signals at least until her body starts to burn up from the drug.
Besides a few scenes of action this movie isn’t the slam bang action fest the trailers make it out to be. Which is fine.
The problem with the movie overall is it’s too small for it’s own good.
So, when there’s a car chase directly out The Bourne Identity (complete with the same music score) it feels completely out of place and why is that car doing that flip again?
The fact the drug exists and this is happening to Lucy means it must’ve happened before so there’s no mysterious band of scientists or backers in the shadows waiting to see what happens.
2011′s Limitless with Bradley Cooper handled this smart drug plot line a bit better than Lucy. Both of these movies cover the same topic just differently enough to make them fun without pulled a Deep Impact / Armageddon vide.
The movie doesn’t do the whole lawnmower man thing where the protagonist is going to take over the internet. The ticking clock of her own mortality pushes the film until the final explosive action sequence.
If you’ve seen Transcendence and enjoyed it then you’ll like Lucy since it goes in the opposite direction.
After directing several french films and the occasional animated fair, I’m happy to say Luc Besson directed a great movie. I hope he stops producing and gets back into the directing chair.