Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Morgan Freeman (BAtman Begins)
Min-Sik Choi (Lady Vengeance)
Pilou Asbæk (Hijacking)
Amr Waked (Syriana)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rabbit fever)
Analeigh Tipton (Warm Bodies)
Lucy (Johansson) begins her day ruffled after an evening with this week’s boyfriend, Richard (Pilou Asbæk). After much finagling, Richard gives up trying to convince Lucy to drop off a mysterious suitcase to Korean mob boss Mr. Jang (Min-sik) and instead handcuffs the valise to Lucy’s arm and shoos her in the door. Cut to Jang’s luxury suite, where Lucy is forced to reveal the possibly dangerous contents, which turn out to be bags of a synthetic drug capable of boosting brain function. Jang implants bags of the stuff inside Lucy and several other unwilling drug mules for travel, but the contents in Lucy’s stomach leak, instantly giving her an acute awareness of her surroundings and the ability to fight like a trained assassin. Lucy contacts scientist and professor Samuel Norman (Freeman), who lectures on the would-it-be-possible science of increasing brain function, and dodges Jang’s incoming assassins as she uses increasingly more of her brain.
Besson inserts title cards each time Lucy’s brain usage hits a new milestone. Her powers at first consist of lightning-fast reflexes and the ability to solve problems without hesitation, and quickly grow to include a plethora of lethal fighting moves and the ability to control electrical current. Each cheeky title card bookends another explosion of drug-fueled super powers, and anyone complaining about the film’s science should be infuriated by the time Lucy starts manipulating technology and her own physical form. Johannson’s wide-eyed concern and cautious embrace of Lucy’s newfound gifts buoys the film. She is a fine actress doing a good job with less-than-serious material. Rarely are female leads given anything of substance to do in action films, so I applaud Besson for writing this role for a woman. Lucy allows its heroine to teeter on the brink of annihilation. Lucy is both resigned to die and determined to use the synthetic boost to overcome the otherwise-fatal drain on her body.
Director Luc Besson returns to his European action roots in Lucy, a lightweight but wholly entertaining actioner with Scarlett Johansson in the lead as a woman whose inadvertent ingestion of a synthetic compound unlocks the full capacity of her mind. The science may be junk, but the action is exciting and there is plenty of humor from the able cast, which also includes Morgan Freeman.