Scarlett Johansson plays the title character in the 2014 science fiction thriller ‘Lucy.’ Her character is an American studying abroad in Taiwan who had a week long relationship with the wrong kind of guy; The kind who will cuff a locked briefcase with unknown contents to your arm and send you into the offices of a murderous mob boss. Lucy is then kidnapped, stuffed with a new, but certainly illegal drug and sent to board a flight back to the U.S. Along the way, the contents of the package in her stomach are released into her system and thus begins a journey of vengeance and self-discovery.
The film takes an opportunity towards the beginning to make comparisons between humans, and primitive animals. We hunt, we kill, we consume. But a long time ago, someone appointed us ‘Unique.’ We fancy ourselves much smarter than the average bear. Most of the movie is narrated by a neuroscientist named Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman). He fantasizes about the possibilities of the human brain reaching 100% functionality in a lecture hall somewhere. He expresses how much untapped potential it has and theorizes what each 10% increment would systematically gain in regards to abilities and understanding.
Professor Norman says that dolphins use 20% of their brains. This gives them the faculty to interact with their surroundings on a much larger scale. When Lucy reaches 20% of her brain power, she can control the air around her like some sort of air bender. She can also see every possible outcome in a confrontation and react in the most favorable way. At 20% of this movie, I was very much looking forward to the powers she would unlock for herself.
At around 50%, Lucy can access any and all communication networks, including satellite coms, mobile phone networks, and even radio waves. She reaches out to Professor Norman for guidance and enlists Police Officer Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked) to help her take down her captors. At this point, she begins to realize that the more cognoscente she becomes the less human she will be. At 50% of the movie, I was so relieved that it was not dragging along and was actually keeping some sentiment of a structure, that I could happily ignore the flaws in the science thus far.
By 90% capability, Lucy could control people around her, make German Shepard’s fear her, and even ‘get her hair did’ by simply thinking it so. It was becoming increasingly hard to ignore the science, regardless of the fact that they had the best voice in the biz breaking it down for us. Thankfully, my ADD allows for more suspension of disbelief but even the visuals start to look like something out of 70’s body snatching movie. Without dropping any spoilers, I expected a little more to happen when she reaches 100% but, the idea did have me walking out of the theatre pondering the possibilities.
I just have to clarify (or let someone else do it for me), humans use a hell of a lot more than 10% of our brains. I, for one, believe making my lucky charms while half asleep in the morning has got to use at least 12% but I’m no Bill Nye. If you can get passed the science, there are some pretty good performers in this movie. ScarJo always keeps my eyes on the screen but she actually had a bunch of funny lines in the first half that she delivered pretty damn well. The entire audience was cracking up and it made me wonder if this was going to be more comedy driven. At one point, she starts to inflect her voice as if she is channeling Vicki, The Robot from Small Wonder but you will see a few twitches in her personality throughout the film. I believe that this is to impress upon the audience that Lucy is evolving to be something far more than human.
Min-Sik Choi plays the murderous mob boss, Mr Jang. I am a fan of Choi’s work on movies such as the original Old Boy, Lady Vengeance, and I Saw The Devil. He was easily my favorite part of Lucy. His anger and desperation is incredible to watch unravel and he definitely does not disappoint as the maniacal villain. His performance could only be enhanced by the directorial skills of Luc Besson and they are. Lucy may not hold the emotional punch of Leon: The Professional; it doesn’t even hold a candle to the comedy of Fifth Element, but I was entertained, and Ill probably watch it again on DVD. For being mostly visually stunning, and making me laugh more than a few times, I give Lucy 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.