Directed by: Luc Besson
Okay, okay, we’ll cop to the fact that the pseudo-science of this film is, well, sketchy at best, and flat out riddled with goofy nonsense at worse (so, yeah, you won’t get Bill Nye or Neil deGrasse Tyson to endorse what is going on here). Still, there is something intoxicatingly seductive about Lucy — both the film itself and femme fatale Scarlett Johansson as the title character — that forces you to watch and set aside that part of your brain that tells you that quite a bit of what is going on up there is, well, really silly. The premise of the film is that a woman (Johansson) finds herself accidentally caught in some very dark dealings due to the underhanded deceptions of her (recently met) boyfriend, while abroad in n Taipei, Taiwan.
He cons her into delivering a locked suitcase to a mysterious businessman named Mr. Jang (Choi) who then has her boyfriend killed, abducts her and surgically implants a bag full of newly-created synthetic drugs into her lower tummy so that she can mule it across international borders. You see, Jang wants to introduce the new drug (CPH4 — a substance that is produced naturally during pregnancy which helps form the building blocks of a baby’ brain — only in this concentrated form it proves to be a powerful psychotropic) to Europe. However unfortunate for Lucy, Jang, and his evil minions the bag inadvertently breaks open while still inside Lucy causing her brain to metaphorically explode like a atomic bomb went off inside her skull.
As the drug begins to suddenly increase her brain’s function capacity, she is able to do all sorts of neat things (think faster, develop psychokinetic and telekinetic abilities, gain control over other people’s bodies, “see” digital data, and well, other stuff we usually see only ion X-Men flicks). Anyways, all of this increased brain power allows her to turn the tables on her captors while transforming her into a merciless warrior who has evolved far beyond human abilities. Along the way, she hooks up with a Professor Norman (Freeman) who is apparently the fore-most authority on the human brain, and she taps him as to what is going on, and perhaps for some help.
Meanwhile she needs to track down the rest of the CPH4 (that is being likewise smuggled out in the bodies of three other individuals as she attempts to evade Jang’s henchmen and keep herself from simply burning out on the lack of CPH4. So as time ticks down her brain-pan increases and the thugs get closer. All the while we are cut back and forth to Lucy, Professor Norman, Jang and his crew, and Discovery Channel nature shots of the formation of the world, and the nature of the beasts that live in it (Hey, we told you the science was goofy). While this film walks a similar path to last month’s Transcendence, it is written better and (believe it or not) is much more cohesive. Plus it has the added plus of staring Johansson over Johnny Depp. Again, nowhere close (or as good as) to the science you learned in fourth grade, but still highly watchable.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.