Main cast: Scarlett Johansson (Lucy), Choi Min-sik (Mr Jang), Amr Waked (Pierre Del Rio), and Morgan Freeman (Professor Norman)
Director: Luc Besson
Okay, first, we have Lucy, a student in Taiwan whose boyfriend handcuffs her to a briefcase and forces her to meet his contact, a Mr Jang. The boyfriend is clearly nervous, so there’s no doubt that Mr Jang is not a pleasant person to deal with. Lucy’s fears turn into a nightmare when Mr Jang kills her boyfriend and forces her at gunpoint to open the briefcase. It contains four bags of CPH4, a synthetic version of the substance created during pregnancy to allow the fetus to develop. Taking the drugs give one the perfect high, it seems, and Mr Jang is part of a network that aims to distribute CPH4 and make lots of money from it. Lucy is knocked out, and when she comes to, she learns that they have surgically planted a bag in her abdomen and she’s going to be their drug mule, whether she wants to or not.
When she fights off a randy henchman of Mr Jang during her captivity, the henchman kicks her in the stomach so hard that the bag is ruptured. The CPH4 leaks into Lucy’s system, unlocking her ability to eventually control 100% of her brain. With that, comes awesome powers. Somebody’s going down, and she’s now the lady to make sure that happens…
Okay, that previous sentence is a bit misleading. Sure, Lucy develops more powers than Rogue on a kissing spree, but this movie isn’t about kicking ass and senseless violence. No, it’s about Luc Besson doing his hardest to create a cult classic and being all pretentious and self-aware while going about it. I’m not sure what he is thinking (he also wrote the script, so yes, the blame can be laid squarely at the tip of his pointed head), but this movie has a very annoying tendency to cut to stock footage of animal documentaries or some stupid guy in a monkey suit that’s supposed to be a primitive caveman jumping about. Someone mentions “reproduction” and, ooh, let’s cut to a montage of animals popping out babies for the next few minutes. Imagine if this review is punctuated by sixteen frantically animated images at random points – that’s how irritating this “storytelling effect” is.
The plot is also nonsensical. The “science” is horrifically off. The basic premise – humans only use 10% of their brains – is up there with Elvis being the king of the Martians, but I can roll with that. Unfortunately, the movie then insists that unlocking one’s brainpower apparently allows one to do telekinetic stuff, create matter out of nothing, control other people (imagine when everyone’s at 100% brainpower level – does this mean everybody is controlling everybody else?), and travel back in time all the way to the dawn of creation. I can deal with one or two of the above – we already have mutants that can control weather, after all – but all of these in one giant idiot ball have me rolling up my eyes. Not to mention, giving Lucy power over 9,000 effectively makes all the very human villains look like nincompoops so there is nothing left in this movie other than Lucy walking around acting like she’s bumped into Jesus and she thinks he smells.
Mr Besson deliberately tosses in “homages” to everything from E.T. to Akira, clearly hoping that people would gush about how this film is a deep and meaningful statement about transcendental idealism or something. But come on now. Lucy’s brain apparently reveals to her that the world is one giant smartphone and you can scan for information on a car window. Being smart means she now spouts gobbledygook like she’s not aware that The Matrix is so over, while Morgan Freeman blinks like a confused goldfish as he waits for his check to clear.
This kind of movie could be charming in how over the top and absurd it is, but Lucy is unappealingly smug in its pretensions of superior intelligence when it’s actually raging like a drug addict at the brink of an overdose. It tries very hard to come off as some kind of epiphany of a higher being, one who can see the seventh dimension radiating from the gaping orifices of two lions humping one another because time is an iPad and a BMW goes very, very fast and life is The Matrix. This kind of stuff may appeal to emo teens who fancy themselves philosophers on existentialism just because they have a drug habit, but I personally find this movie an absurd waste of time.