Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lucy


Directed by Luc Besson.
2014. Rated R, 89 minutes.
Cast:
Scarlett Johansson
Morgan Freeman
Choi Min-Sik
Amr Waked
Julian Rhind-Tutt
Pilou Asbaek
Analeigh Tipton

When we meet Lucy (Johansson), she isn't exactly MENSA material. Her scummy boyfriend tricks her into dropping off something to someone inside the building they're standing in front of. She ends up being forced to become a drug mule for some Korean gangsters. I hate when that happens. Since karma's a bitch, he shortly winds up dead. Don't worry, not a spoiler. In any event, her journey is just beginning. She's not simply carrying the contraband, or even wearing it. Her tormentors even go farther than those bad dudes from the marvelous Maria Full of Grace who make our heroine in that movie ingest the product to be retrieved by her later when she poops it out. Ewww. What could be worse than that? Lucy has the stuff sewn into her abdomen. Whenever she gets where she's going, she'll be cut open again by the person on that end of the operation. Yeesh. Of course, some dimwit goes to kicking her in the gut and ruptures the bag carrying said drugs which releases them directly into her bloodstream. Overdose. The End. Right?

Um...no.

Let me back up a sec. We also meet Prof. Samuel Norman (Freeman), the world's leading authority on shit that's impossible to know. During an academic speech, he tells us the same myth we've been hearing forever about how we can only use ten percent of our brain's capacity. He then launches into what we would be able to accomplish at various percentages higher than that. Basically, somewhere around forty percent, we all become Jedi knights with a bit of Charles Xavier thrown in, able to control both the objects and the people around us. He doesn't know what we might be able to do at one hundred percent, but we can surmise that shit would really hit the fan. We're led to believe that Prof. Norman gleamed all this knowledge through extensive research. I took that to mean he made it all up. What does this have to do with Lucy? Let's find out.


Turns out the drugs are now running all willy-nilly through Lucy's system doesn't give a high like one you'd reasonably expect. It unlocks the rest of her brain for conscious use. A helpful counter occasionally pops up to let us know how much smarter she is than us the capacity of her brain which she's operating. Pretty soon, she's finding online and reading thousands of pages of dense research in a matter of a few minutes. Fittingly, since Scarlett Johansson plays both roles, Lucy is like Sam from Her, in human form, except not so nice. Lucy's first order of business is getting the drugs out of her system so it doesn't kill her. Her second? Well, I did say karma's a bitch, right? Oh, at some point she actually contacts Prof. Norman and clues him in to the accuracy of his "research." I swear the look on his face clearly says "You mean all that bullshit I was spouting is true?" God bless Morgan Freeman.

To say this movie is a beacon of "bad movie science" is a massive understatement. It makes less than zero sense, if that's possible. Trust me, in this movie, it is. I've already said way too much about it, and the plot in general. My bad. Some things need more explaining. Just know that if you bother scrutinizing this film, you will hate it. The leaps in logic and common sense are astronomical even within the world created by the movie itself. You'll find yourself often asking "If this, why that?" Stop it. Don't do it. In the fine tradition of things that can't possibly happen for real, turn your brain off. This is why I enjoyed the hell out of Lucy. I just rolled with the punches from this sci-fi action flick that pretends to be deep.

Our star is the main reason I had so much fun with this film. Scarlett Johansson is on an amazing run and turns in another dynamite performance. She has gone from being just a pretty face to being a compelling actress. Her command of the screen is undeniable and grounds even this, the most ridiculous of premises. Through all of the zaniness swirling about she gives us a relatable figure to cling to. The woman dealing with a personal crisis is never lost beneath her ever-expanding super powers. At several points, she reaches out and touches us emotionally without it feeling like the movie is trying to manipulate us. This is a difficult thing to do, especially for an action flick. She handles it with aplomb.

Johansson has two big aids in making this a fun ride. The one we can see on the screen is Korean star Choi Min-Sik. The dude just knows how to bring a menacing demeanor. He also gets to chew a bit of scenery and does it wonderfully without ever speaking a word of English. Just an FYI, most people know him as the hero of the original Oldboy, but if you really want to see him at his scariest see I Saw the Devil. Cover your floors and furniture with plastic so all the blood doesn't ruin them and thank me later. Back to Lucy, Johansson's second big help is director Luc Besson and his technical team. Never mind that this is the nuttiest mainstream movie in quite some time, save possibly Transcendence. It simply looks fantastic. We get lots of visual candy to keep our eyes darting all over the place. This certainly helps distract us from what's actually happening. I'm including the finale that is a particularly large slice of ridiculosity. Dammit, it's a pretty slice. In other words, you'll have a blast watching Lucy if while she's using more and more of her brain, you use less and less of yours.

10 comments:

  1. So much yes! I agree with everything. Your closing statement really says it all...so much fun, so damn dumb!

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  2. Ahah, I agree this film's *science* is laughable but it is a blast. I think you could say that about a lot of Luc Besson movies. This one benefited from Scarlett's casting though.

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    1. This one benefited hugely from ScarJo. She's been great in everything for a few years running now.

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  3. It's probably the most entertaining thing that Luc Besson has done in a long time while I also enjoyed the fact that Scarlett Johansson is on a roll and gives another solid performance.

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    1. You're probably right about Besson. The last one of his movies I saw was Arthur and the Invisibles which had its moments, but is largely meh. ScarJo is on a great roll.

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  4. Ha ha! Your last line is priceless. I love your wonderful writing style and sense of humor. I have no interest in this movie, but I loved the review.

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    1. Thank you for some extremely kind words!!!

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  5. Dead on, man. Lucy is patently ridiculous in that way seemingly only Luc Besson movies can be, but if you just accept that, it's a hell of a lot of fun. ScarJo is the perfect lead vessel for Besson, and this film in particular. The ending makes absolutely no sense at all, and I did not fucking care, mostly because I had such a blast watching it.

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    1. That's we exactly how I feel about the ending. Just a giant ball of wtf, but I loved it. A perfectly ludicrous way to end a ludicrous movie.

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