I expected some sort of craziness and “out-there” storytelling when watching a Luc Besson film. Movies like The Fifth Element are testament to how crazy the guy can really be. I also expected there to be some solid, crazy but well constructed action, especially considering what we’d seen in Leon or movies like Taken, which Besson produced.
Lucy had this potential. It starts very well, setting up the movies main story with a very tense meeting between Scarlet Johansson’s Lucy and the principal villain, Mr. Jang, played very menacingly by Min-Sik Choi. There is little room for expedition or long, dialogue heavy scenes. It’s just a very scared Lucy, in a room with a lot of people who have bad intentions. It’s a great set-up and one you’d expect from Luc Besson, considering the great action thrillers he has directed before.
It doesn’t stop there and the movie continues down a very positive route. Once Lucy has finally gained access to her brain and the percentage she can access begins to rise, her powers are also increased and this is realised in great fashion. Watching her do extraordinary things while Morgan Freeman explains the “science” behind it plays out brilliantly. In fact, great imagery is used throughout the first twenty minutes, as images of animal behaviour is contrasted alongside the events occurring to and around Johansson’s Lucy.
The film is not the action-packed, superhero-lite movie that the trailers prepare you for. The effects of the drug that Lucy is exposed to increases her power and her access to the world around her and the more those percentages increase, the weirder the film becomes.
What I thought was going to be a quest for the rest of the blue drug that gave Lucy her abilities actually becomes a straight-forward A to B movie, with very little in the way of story. You are left watching the main character become more and more powerful and with very ten percent of her brain she accesses, you are waiting for the new development in her powers. That’s it.
It comes to a head when one of the supporting characters even tells Lucy, “you don’t need me!” That is pretty much the story summarised. We aren’t watching a journey of peril and action, we are watching and waiting to see what 100% access of the brain actually looks like.
That is when the movie gets weird and is not as advertised. I won’t spoil anything here but I doubt anyone goes into Lucy expecting to come out with more of a lesson in philosophy than a kick-ass, superheroine, action film. The imagery used to create what occurs in the last twenty minutes is fantastic and almost worth going to see in 3D but makes little sense and doesn’t really offer what I wanted from the movie.
Lucy felt like a missed opportunity. I thought it was going to be a heady mix of Taken/Leon with the fantastical, science-fiction elements of Fifth Element. I thought I was going to see an action-thriller, not the movie that Besson presented instead. Unfortunately, whatever Besson was hoping to achieve, I don’t think it was done with the right mix of philosophy, effects or intelligent storytelling that it requires.
Overall, Lucy felt like a missed opportunity. The movie starts so well, beginning with a tense, slow-build and introducing the main concept of the story with fantastic imagery. It then becomes a waiting game, as we watch Lucy become more and more powerful until the inevitable 100%. What occurs in the last twenty minutes looks great but doesn’t offer satisfying enough an explanation or proper ending to what came before it.
Rating – 2.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)