Luc Besson has brought forth some fabulous character creations over his directing tenure. He introduced us to the awe-inspiring talent of Natalie Portman in The Professional and created a world of action and wonder with The Fifth Element. With his newest outing Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, brings his impeccable directorial style mixed with an interesting concept to the forefront. The ending result is an action-packed, fun time at the movies.
The less you know, the more interesting the film feels during the viewing, but for a simple enough explanation, here it is: Lucy tells the story of a young woman named Lucy (Johansson), who gets mixed up in the dark underworld of a foreign country. When an accident occurs, Lucy, who unlocks all human logic and ability, turns the tables on the ones who wronged her.
You have to applaud Besson’s concept. On paper, it’s a fascinating creation of a strong female character. A woman who kicks ass but not in the conventional ways we have grown to see them executed in action films. Say what you will about the flaws of the film, and believe me there are many, you can’t really say it was boring. You eagerly anticipate the next chapter to see where our young and beautiful Lucy will go. Now as far as a storytelling and narrative structure is concerned, the movie borders on plain ludicrous abilities that I wouldn’t believe in a Marvel movie. It feels like a distant cousin to Doug Liman’s Jumper at times, and that’s not something I like to recall.
From the beginning, utter confusion besets on the viewer. A lazy entry way into a story without any explanation is at times welcomed but if its being delivered by a character you can barely understand, then don’t execute the dialogue through that character. Before Johansson’s Lucy transforms into our heroin, she portrays a woman that makes you simply cringe. Utterly annoying in vocal projection and extremely miffed in facial expressions, the “early” Lucy is extremely unlikable. She will also take the prize for “person you most badly want to give a tissue to in a motion picture” if and when that award is displayed in our era.
It’s great to see Johansson helming a film like this. As she continues to develop in the Marvel franchises as Black Widow, fans of those films will come to love her in something like this. It’s a change of pace, reminiscent of a performance you might see in The Terminator films. Not sure if that’s something that excites anyone upon reading that but I was constantly brought back to Kristanna Loken and Robert Patrick.
Co-star Morgan Freeman utilizes his voice and narration in everything we’ve come to expect from a “Morgan Freeman” performance in a film like this. As our villain, you can’t get much better than Min-sik Choi just being our resident bad guy with no regard to human life. As our love interest/guy who is there to help out I think? Amr Waked is just movie wallpaper. It’s there, you know it’s there, but you really want to take it down and do a nice trim.
At 88 minutes, the film feels longer, which is disappointing. 75% of that time is building up to something you’re not quite sure is going to occur but are excited to see for the most part. You’ve invested this time, and you’re ready for a pay off that feels like it will be earned. However, Besson takes lackadaisical approach out of the story, putting together pretty terrible special effects that looked like this movie was giving birth to the new sequel to Species, and leaving the viewer completely unsatisfied. Are they trying to squeeze a franchise out of this? Perhaps, and if so, there’s better ways to get your audience excited than “I Am Everywhere.” So dumb.
PSA: I know that studios think that audiences as a whole are not intelligent. I can’t fault you for that. I’m just begging you to please stop inserting “the smartest guy in the room” character in all these action films. If Lucy is an enigma, something we cannot fully understand, then there shouldn’t be a question from “Character B” that is immediately answered by “Character A,” just so “we, the audience” can understand what’s going on, in the movie.
Lucy is entertaining. A conundrum of story and action that blends together for a harmless time at the movies. It exudes sexiness pretty much throughout, and has the bones for a decent enough franchise if you can work out the kinks. You can find it either really awesome, or simple enough, really dumb. I lean more towards the latter. You decide.