By Adair Simpson and Devin Lee
Luc Besson is the well known director of The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, and the Transporter. He is known for a peculiar and quirky style that just skims the edge of annoying. Usually, it works. This time, however, it really sucked.
This movie can easily be compared to Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. The stories are very similar. However, where Limitless succeeds and Lucy doesn’t is in the realism. Both movies focus on the concept of accessing 100% of your brain capacity. Besson is content with creating 90 minutes of random occurrences that essentially make Scarlett Johansson superman. In Limitless, Bradley Cooper is able to organize his thoughts and memories to suit his situation in the best possible way. For example, he is able to write a book within a matter of hours. In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson can teleport, move objects with her mind, learn Chinese without ever speaking it and essentially become God. Even Bradley Cooper had to take at least a course to learn French.
On top of all that, the entire movie doesn’t make sense. After a Chinese mob (who incidentally are speaking Korean) kidnap her, they insert packaged drugs in her stomach for her to carry as cargo. Of course something goes wrong and she gets exposed to the drugs. This is when it gets really stupid. She suddenly goes from a frightened hostage to an unfeeling machine who kills innocent people. And yet for some reason, she refuses to kill the antagonists in the movie. Seriously, she puts two knives in the gang lord’s hands, does a vulcan mind meld on him and then leaves him there. I don’t know what these drugs are doing but they sure aren’t making her smart. Although she played the robot part well, I couldn’t figure out why she became one in the first place.
Luc Besson does a lot of quirky things in the movie. It’s his style. This time, though, he takes it way too far. For example, during a scene where Scarlett Johansson is talking with her boyfriend, Besson shows an animal catching its prey. This symbolizes her walking into a trap, because the boyfriend’s about to get her into a lot of trouble. But the scene is so needlessly long, it feels like they’re just trying to pad the running time. The movie only gets more stupid as it progresses. At one point, Johannson overdoses on the drug and starts “melting.” Cut to her in a hospital room and everyone in the audience is saying, “Huh?” They never explain what happened.
Also, the gang lord had the potential to be very impressive. He was played by one of the most popular Korean actors today: Min-sik Choi. If Lucy wasn’t invincible, and the audience actually felt like she was in any kind of danger, I would be pretty scared of this guy. Unfortunately, his talent was wasted.
The root problem with this movie is that Besson assumed that using 100% of your brain’s capacity would affect your physical ability as well as your mental ability. This assumption is simply too far-fetched to take seriously. With all the tools Lucy has at its disposal (Besson, Morgan Freeman, Scarlett Johansson, Min-Sik Choi), it did indeed have the potential to be a quirky success. However, the mercurial nature of the movie, its unrealism, and its convoluted ending made you wonder – and not in a good way.