Lucy (2014)

Screw marijuana! Can these drugs be legal?!?

After being fooled by her one-week boyfriend, American tourist Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is somehow made to be a drug mule of sorts by the mob. The drug she’s given to stay in the pit of her stomach accidentally leaks out into her nervous-system and allows her to use more than the normal 10% of her brain. Meaning that Lucy now has superhuman strength and can control just about anything with her mind. And for the most part, she uses it to her advantage; she extracts revenge on those who had done wrong to her, she gets free rides, she kills whomever gives her a hard time, and she takes down all of the drug-dealers that are also involved in this drug-circle. However, the dosage continues to grow for Lucy and, slowly but surely, she starts to lose control and forgets to remember how to decipher what’s considered “real”, or, what’s “just because of the drugs”. Eventually though, Lucy realizes that she needs to chill out and get rid of all this stuff from her body, which is exactly where biology Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) steps in and sees whatever the hell it is that he can do for her, before it’s too late and her mind is totally lost forever.

There’s been a lot of talk about this here film and how it’s pretty much just another version of Limitless, except with a bigger-budget, and also, instead of the dashing, scruffy-look of Bradley Cooper, we get the luscious, natural beauty that is Scarlett Johansson. And while some of that may be true, I can’t help but think the two movies are different. Most of that has to do with the way in which the drug itself is used and how dark things can truly get, but most of that also has to do with the fact that Luc Besson is a better director than Neil Burger; problem is, you’d just never know it.

"Uhm...this is out of my level of expertise. I'm just the narrator, hon'."
“Uhm…this is out of my level of expertise. I’m just the narrator, hon’.”

See, though Luc Besson struck the iron while it was hot back in the day from ’90-’97, the dude hasn’t really been in his element since. It seems like, ever since the Fifth Element, everything that was fun, exciting and wildly original about Luc Besson and the movies he created, had all but disappeared and thus, we were stuck with watching him try his daft hand at comedy late last year with the Family, which, for the most part, failed. That wasn’t the only bad movie Besson has done in the past decade or so, but it’s definitely the main one that made me wonder what the hell happened to the dude and whether or not we were going to get all of that magic back once again.

Thankfully though, with Lucy, it seems like Besson is back in his comfort-zone, but with a whole lot more craziness ensuing. We get to see him use a hell of a lot of special-effects, and while they don’t always look good, it’s still nice to see Besson at least trying harder and harder at new things to incorporate into his movies, rather than just depending on blood, bullets, and action to save the day. Because, sure, while we all love that from him, there needs to be a bit more to that. Like, I don’t know, say a story, or better yet, an interesting protagonist.

And, believe it or not, Lucy has both of them! Although neither the protagonist, nor the premise may be as smart or as well-handled as Besson has done with ones in the past, it was still refreshing to see him give us something more. But to be honest, story doesn’t really matter here because when Besson wants to get nuts, he allows himself to do so and it’s a joy to see. The movie clearly doesn’t want to be taken seriously and more often than not, is capable of using its black comedy to its advantage. While some of it feels random and a bit strange, it was still something I liked to see in a movie that could have easily been as serious as a human-drama with its B-movie premise, but instead, do quite the opposite.

Sure, there’s plenty of moments where this movie dies down and focuses a tad too much on its characters and their plight; mostly the parts with Morgan Freeman’s character talking about life, humanity, animals, and only God knows what else – but they’re very few and far between to where it doesn’t really bring down the movie a whole lot. And for a movie that runs just barely underneath the hour-and-a-half-mark, that’s something to be happy about. So rarely do we actually get a movie, let alone, a summer blockbuster, in which we are in, and we are out in a matter of reasonable time and pace. I get that most movies like to take their time and expand on their story, hence the longer run-time, but most of the time, these movies do not need to run the risk of being longer than two-and-a-half-hours and therefore, running the risk of losing its audience. However, the pleasure of watching Lucy is that it’s simple and doesn’t take much time at all. It’s quick, punchy and absolutely wild, all under the painless hour-and-a-half-mark.

Hey, it's like Oldboy! Except not really.
Hey, it’s like Oldboy! Except not really.

Only wish other movies this summer would have learned that lesson early on. Looking straight at you, Michael Bay.

And as our titled-character, Scarlett Johansson is fine as Lucy, showing us that despite her small frame and raspy voice, she’s still able to be a bit of a bad-ass chick. Just give her a couple of machine-guns, a blonde-poof, a blood-stained tank-top and woolah, you have a female character that cannot only kick ass and take names, but is smart enough to take maters into her own hands when the going gets going. She doesn’t just hang around and hope that the nearest dude can save her from her problem; she gets up off her lovely romp and starts to get stuff done, her own way.

Don’t know about you, but if there’s a female action-hero I’d look up to the most – it’s Lucy. And that’s all you need to know about her, Jack. Or, whatever masculine dude it is that wants to know why he should see a movie about a gal who has super powers and starts tearing shit up.

Consensus: Whereas it may not be the smartest piece of action you’re likely to see the rest of this summer, Lucy is still a return-to-form of sorts for Luc Besson who seems like, for once in a long while, he’s having a great time with what he’s filming.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"Coming for you, motherhood."
“Coming for you, motherhood.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz


  1. I have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. Definitely high up my list and that is a strong thing to say when you have a summer this full of great movies.

  2. Hmm I might actually check this out, although I might just wait for it to come on the movie channels because I really hate the stupid annoying premise of “We only use 10%” of our brains”.

  3. I’m definitely intrigued by this one, even though I thought Limitless was rubbish! Trailer looks good…but then all trailers look good.

  4. I’m glad to hear that this turned out to be pretty decent! I probably wait for it on dvd, but I do really want to see it, mostly because it’s Scarjo kicking some ass.

  5. I maintain this is better than his last effort, but I am not sure how much of a compliment that is since it doesn’t get much crappier than The Family. I think the best thing about Lucy was the delivery of yet another badass, strong female lead character. And who better to turn to other than the lovely Ms Johannson? Great review Dan. Glad to see you enjoyed it more than I !

  6. Definitely one of the movies I’m interested in seeing. I’ve read some not-so-good reviews about the film, but I’m definitely still curious. I like Scarlett Johansson doing action movies, and I’m glad she’s in that kind of role for this movie. Looking forward to checking it out – nice review, Dan!

  7. Good call comparing it to “Limitless” – I thought of that movie a few times while watching “Lucy.” I have to confess, I don’t know that I could name another Luc Besson movie after ’97.

  8. Have had absolutely no desire to spend my money on this movie.. Sorry but Scarlett Johansson hasn’t showed up for a different character in a movie since “Lost in Translation” ..every character she does is acted the same way..same expressionless face & performance.. not saying she doesn’t look good, because then all the guys would freak out..but her acting is always sub-par..and she keeps getting the roles all on those good for her on that front.

  9. Nice review, Dan. Nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is, but still an interesting and certainly UNIQUE experience, if nothing else. 🙂

  10. I think this movie is pretty different from Limitless in that it explores the metaphysical properties of higher brain usage rather than the benefits of higher thought capacity. It’s not Besson’s worst, but certainly far from his best. I would agree that he hasn’t really balanced fun/action effectively in years. Thankfully Lucy is 98 minutes so it moves quickly, but there’s a lot wrong here. The villain is lame, the science is total hooey, and once she obtains her powers, you never feel a sense of danger for her. Besson is working with an interesting premise, however he never really explores it to its true potential.

  11. Finally watched it last week and like you I liked it a lot, just wished it had kept the tension that is built up at the beginning of the film. Once the drugs kick in that disappears unfortunately.

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