There are stupid films, and then there is Lucy.

But, before anybody casts a glance across that opening sentence and presumes I’m about to go on and tell you to give the film a miss, think again.

For Lucy belongs in that very select bracket of films that are so stupid, so mind-bogglingly ridiculous, so laughably over-the-top, that you cannot help but enjoy them.

Of course, the whole thing is helped tremendously by being anchored by Scarlett Johansson, who produces a display that oozes A-list and proves she can comfortably hold her own when it comes to big-budget action adventures (including those first assigned to Angelina Jolie such as this).

Anyways, the plot here is that Johansson plays the titular character, a student in Chinese Taipei who, for reasons beyond her control, gets mixed up in a drug running business headed up by Old Boy star Choi Min-Sik.

But this is no ordinary drug though, instead a new-to-the-market synthetic that supposedly enhances the user’s ability to access their brain power – yep, we’re back in the ‘Limitless’ fallacy that a human only uses 10% of their brain’s capacity.

Lucy is one of four unfortunates selected by Choi’s Jang to ferry the drug around the world, via the somewhat painful method of having a bag of the stuff sewn inside their intestines – to avoid detection at airports you see.

Anyhow, things go from bad to worse (or maybe not, depending on how you view it) for Lucy when some goons decide to duff her up, stupidly electing to give her a few hefty boots to the gut.

Wouldn’t you know, one of those kicks ruptures the bag inside her, releasing the drug into her system in a huge dose and rapidly accelerating Lucy’s mental powers.

Alongside this developing situation, with Lucy suddenly able to understand languages, predict events, see through walls and the like, we get some sizeable chunks of scientific mumbo-jumbo courtesy of Morgan Freeman, who pops up playing a professor and specialist in, yep – you’ve guessed it, the human brain.

And this is where Luc Besson’s film takes a veer into the bizarre – for, despite everybody attending Lucy probably expecting some sort of shoot-em-up, and the film itself clearly having a very strong smell of B-movie about it, the director elects to throw in some po-faced dialogue from time to time, as well as including flashbacks to the first humans and suchlike that are simply laughable.

Quite why Besson seemed to want to try and pitch the movie above mere actioner is anybody’s guess, but the whole thing comes across as far too earnest.

Which is a shame, as when Besson concentrates on the action Lucy really flies – whether it be the copious shootouts, a thrilling car chase through oncoming Paris traffic or the numerous scenes of Johansson sending people flying via her brain power alone.

The star really delivers the goods as she tracks down Jang and his hoods, building on the action chops she has showcased in the Avengers movies, or even The Island if you want to go back a bit further.

But this is more than mere handling of weaponry, as Lucy ‘regresses’ emotionally through the film’s running time, becoming more and more distant by the minute, with Johansson’s icy glaze perfectly fitting the bill.

As stated at the outset, Lucy really is one of those films that you have to let wash over you, one to simply accept is going to be preposterous and go with it.

If you don’t, the film is likely to be a painful experience, but if you do, then a good time is to be had by all.


VERDICT: [rating=4]

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle