Language: English, Korean, Mandarin
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast
Music: Eric Serra
Jan Oliver Schroeder
A cinema-going in a newly-discovered multiplex in Cairo inside a half-empty shopping mall, LUCY is another rare triumph of a female-driven blockbuster directed by Gallo-film entrepreneur Luc Besson, whose creativity and clout has been significantly ebbed away after THE BIG BLUE (1988), LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL (1994) and THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997). So I have been intentionally steering clear of his subsequent work, however recently the noteworthy career renaissance of Scarlett Johansson intrigues me immensely and I am tempted by the conception of gearing up the the maximum of human’s cerebral capacity. But, in the end, Besson overkills the idea since his brain capacity doesn’t quite hit the requirement to facilitate such an ambitious project.
The Taipei setting is a treat to my eyes, and it is also refreshing to watch Black Widow acting frightened as a girl in the end of her tether (at least for the beginning 20 minutes) before she can wondrously kick ass again. The montages of an antelope falling prey of ferocious lions are not too subtle to intercut with the pretentious and preposterous beginning. We are not watching a Discovery channel while the reconstructed images of the arguable first homo sapiens Lucy cannot be too obvious to state its liaison with our Lucy, brings about a THE TREE OF LIFE (2011) otherworldliness, but in a far worse way.
The same out-of-the-place malaise continues until the very end, the flashy progress of the drug flowing through brain cells and the Sci-Fi transcendent set pieces jump in not as eye-opening thrust, but mostly middle-of-the-road scratches. By comparison, the paralleling plot of the vengeful Korean gang leader seems to be even more insignificantly trivial, only to meet the eyes of action fans.
The second-billed Morgan Freeman’s subplot is also mediocrely plain, he might as well retreat as a suave elucidator in voice-over; Min-sik Choi, the South Korean mega-star, monotonously designed as the blood-thirsty thug, but against the superhuman Lucy, his one-note villain is pitifully expendable.
Johansson, on the other hand, basically carries the picture alone, but after the tremendous metamorphosis in HER (2013) and UNDER THE SKIN (2013), LUCY is a child’s play for her, she doesn’t even have to challenge many stylish action showcases as in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014). But in any rate, LUCY marks that she successfully repeats Angelina Jolie’s victory in SALT (2010), the film is a solid stepping stone to manifest that she is a bankable leading actress who is ready to anchor a Black Widow spinoff now, Marvel really should seize this opportunity and right their wrongs in the sexism superhero universe.
Luc Besson, once a French wunderkind with great promise, now it only seems that his ambition oversteps his actual execution. The storytelling of LUCY is arbitrary and reckless, what is in its centre notion of any individual human’s 100% prowess liberation is clearly beyond his own comprehension, so he has to finish it off in a most predictable approach, it is a too profound test for him to justify the story. Anyway, being the mastermind behind a popcorn flick, he is no doubt a shrew businessman and knows the market pretty well.
One funny thing is the ending could be a suitable preface for HER or UNDER THE SKIN, when Lucy has been transformed into either an omnipresent IOS system, or even worse, a completely different species trying to get some basic clue of the highest life form on earth, if you are a Johansson fan, it is not a bad choice for a double bill.