Luc Besson has brought us some awesome female heroines in cinema. Natalie Portman rocked in “The Professional, Bridget Fonda in “Point of No Return” (which produced La Femme Nikita), and I don’t remember Milla Jovovich before “The Fifth Element”. So I expected Scarlett Johansson to enter the pantheon as well. “Lucy” is a disappointment.
The premise is cool. The old “humans only use 10% of their brain” trope looks good in trailers but clunky in the feature length film. Scarlett Johannson is Lucy, a party girl who gets caught up in a drug deal and is forced to mule said drugs in her abdomen. After the bag leaks into her blood stream, she starts to unlock parts of her brain that the rest of us can’t.
Throughout the movie Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) teaches us about the human brain. Most experts in films like this sound trustworthy, but the good professor makes absolutely no sense. It’s extremely difficult to follow what he is talking about as hard as you may try, and you feel like you just walked out of the room from taking an SAT after the film.
The issue is that Besson really doesn’t have a story past the premise. It’s hard to take the film seriously when he cuts back and forth between the animal kingdom, evolution, and Lucy’s brain development inching to 100%. Lucy goes from ditsy, annoying party girl to Rain Man. Her disconnected, monotoned, candor when on the drug is dull. As Lucy gets more advanced, she says things like “I remember the taste of your milk in my mouth” to her mother to show that she can remember everything from the time she was born. Seriously? No! How can you take “Lucy” seriously when she says things like that?
There are some staple Luc Besson action sequences that are cool to watch. I thought this film would be a vehicle for Johansson to be a new action star, especially with her work as Black Widow, but she barely fights in the film. Instead, she creates force fields, makes people sleep, or suspends them in the air. Basically, this film is a bag of potato chips that looks delicious on the outside but is full of hot air! Don’t waste your time.