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'Lucy' review: An evolutionary heroine

Scarlett Johansson, the star of "Lucy."
Scarlett Johansson, the star of "Lucy."
Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Lucy (film)


Writer/director Luc Besson is responsible for bringing two of the most bamf female characters to life in his films “La Femme Nikita” and “The Fifth Element,” and the trailers for his “Lucy” appear to mark his return to female action movies, but the action of “Lucy” is a bit underwhelming. Once Lucy reaches higher levels of brain usage, she uses less physical violence and becomes more “alien.”

Thrown amongst drug smugglers with an (r)evolutionary new drug thanks to a slimy new boyfriend, a partying foreign college student, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is accidentally exposed to a high concentration of this drug which literally changes her world. As theorist Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) predicts, when Lucy unlocks more control of her brain, she begins to obtain the power to affect the world around herself. Lucy then travels across the world to collect more of the drug to push her level of knowledge to the max. However, the head of the drug cartel, Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi), refuses to give up.

“Lucy” is not as much as an action film as one would expect because Lucy quickly learns to manipulate her surroundings and doesn’t need to fight. Some of the coolest moments of the film are featured in the trailer, so the rest is a little disappointing. The special effects are neat, but Besson resorts to a big gun battle at the end to remind us the movie is supposed to be action-packed.

Not as advertised, “Lucy” actually reaches more thoughtful content than expected; the film merges a mediocre Luc Besson action film with a reflection on human life, what it is to be human, and the pursuit of knowledge. Besson even includes his own version of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” with a scene depicting the history of Earth.

Interesting and creative, “Lucy” comes to extremes with its pros and cons. As Lucy utilizes more of her brain, she becomes less of what we’d call human and Johansson acts robotic. Lucy is no Leeloo (“The Fifth Element”) and it’s hard to connect to her. The film is an engaging watch but not a must-see.

Rating for “Lucy:” B-

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“Lucy” is still playing at numerous theatres in Columbus, including Gateway and Arena Grand. For showtimes, click here.