The movie I am about to review came a little late to Malaysian cinemas. It was released in the United States mid-July and it is a film that was promoted quite anticipated, especially if you are a fan of French film director Luc Besson. For several decades, Besson has carved an illustrious film career in Europe with some box-office hits in his home continent and Hollywood. Some of the popular films he directed are Leon: The Professional (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), and Arthur and the Invisibles (2006). He has wrote many screenplays which usually centers around crime-action drama set in Europe. I am a fan of his working style and I was anticipating this film.
His next installment as director this year’s summer release titled Lucy. Playing the title role is actress Scarlett Johansson. She is supported by Morgan Freeman, Korean actor Choi Min-Sik, and Egyptian actor Amr Waked. The film was written by Besson himself.
How will his latest endeavor fare up to his body of work? Do read on…
|Scarlett Johansson in the title role of Lucy|
Lucy is an American woman living in Taipei. After one of her party nights, her boyfriend tricked her into delivering a package to a foreign national in a hotel. Reluctantly, she delivers the package to these foreigners and to her disbelief, discovers a drug crime syndicate. Against her wishes, Lucy is forced to carry the packaged drug to the United States by stuffing them in her stomach. While being held captive, Lucy is beaten and her stomach kicked repeatedly. This spurred a chemical reaction of the drug within her body begins to shape Lucy into a human being of enhanced mental and physical ability. With her new ‘powers’, she goes on a hunt for the drug syndicate while trying to unlock the mysteries behind her phenomenon.
|Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) being held by her captors|
Fresh and smart idea but messily structured’ It is one of those stories that we don’t usually watch in cinemas. I won’t consider it to be a script on a brilliance level but it is something new. The story takes a well-known scientific fact and enhances it to be exaggerated fiction. The story balances itself between two plots concurrently; Lucy’s determination to avenge the villains and Lucy’s constant curiosity of her bodily changes. At times, the story felt like it explained too much for me to digest and at times, certain scenes felt like they were unexplained. You have to pay really close attention to the dialogue. The story starts well in the beginning but became over-exaggerated towards the end.
|A new and 'enhanced' Lucy is trying to find out what is going on with her.|
Scarlett Johansson shines in the title role of Lucy. She did a great job in playing every bit a façade of multiple emotions effectively. For most actors, it is challenging enough to headline a film on his or her soldiers let alone having the movie’s title being the name of your character. Johansson did well in embodying Lucy and we do see a progression from what Lucy was before and what Lucy has the potential to become. Morgan Freeman as a scientist did reasonably okay since his role was more a supporting one. I would love the have seen more of Freeman. Korean actor Choi Min-Sik was at the top of his game portraying the villain. If he looks familiar to you, Choi was the villain in the hit Korean crime thriller I Saw The Devil (2010).
|Korean actor Choi Min-Sik leads his band of baddies.|
Director Luc Besson is known for his own unique stylistic brand of action. Lucy is no different than his other films. He blends both action and drama well. The cinematography was good when it came to capturing the colourfulness of Lucy’s adventure and the gloomy dark side of the crime underworld. At times, the visual effects seemed overdone but it was necessary to explain. However, I wish Besson would concentrate a little more on storyline as there were several plot holes within the film.
|Director Luc Besson (holding camera) on set with Scarlett Johansson.|
The film starts well and builds towards a fairly decent climactic ending. However, when it came to explaining the scientific reasons behind Lucy’s problem, it felt a little draggy.
An innocent heroine is unwittingly thrust into strange circumstances and changes she doesn’t understand. While she endures this self-discovery, she has to battle bad people who are after her blood.
|Morgan Freeman as Professor Newman who holds the answer for Lucy's (and the audience) 'abilities'.|
The script is little heavy for my liking. I felt it could have a lighter mood to it.
Visual effects and Scarlett Johansson.
|Another on-set photo of Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson|
By taking a scientific fact and expanding it into a story on film, it is quite fresh among the many films available today. I call this movie a combination of Limitless plus Salt (Angelina Jolie) plus The Matrix. If you liked all those films, Lucy might be your cup of tea.
7 out of 10.