Few European directors achieve as much success in America as they do in their native countries. The loyal followers will seek each new outing whenever it lands stateside, but to the majority the international brand doesn’t translate on this side of the pond.
Luc Besson has given us fresh action-adventure stories for decades. Beyond his masterpiece “Leon: The Professional,” he’s produced franchises for Jason Statham and Liam Neeson, and created a very unique blueprint for exciting films made abroad. Beyond his mark on the genre, Besson has dabbled in family films, dark comedies, and dramatic fare. But of all this, Besson is a man of thrill rides.
His latest directorial endeavor is “Lucy.” Centering on Scarlett Johansson in the title role as a young woman forced to become a drug mule. Despite being unwilling, a small bag of a new drug is implanted in Lucy’s stomach. She’s told to return to her home country where she will be taken somewhere to have the drugs removed. Unfortunately for her, the bag is ruptured. Instead of an overdose or instant death, the drugs allow her to gain an increasing amount of her brain. With her abnormal brain being opened to her, Lucy attempts to stop those who put her in the predicament.
Besson has a European style of filmmaking that really serves the multi-nation storyline. The ability to have scenes that convey elements without dialogue feels refreshing. As the film unfolds however, it appears that the story is being deliberately dumbed down for maximum appeal. The science-fiction element of trying to unlock 100% of the human brain is glazed over for the sake of well-executed stunts and action sequences. The story can’t decide between taking a philosophical route or an action film. This lack of commitment to either makes the film fail at both.
“Lucy” is being touted as a dumb but fun film. But the lack of intelligence of the script, the completely unnecessary Morgan Freeman, and a feeling of being pandered too leaves the audience filming unsatisfied. Those looking for Scarlett Johansson kicking butt and looking hot will likely be thrilled. But those looking for something that enjoys telling a story are best to skip it. With a finale that confounds rather than wraps things up will only aggravate. 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Check your local listings for showtimes and theaters (click here)