Over the Top
A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Lucy is batshit crazy, there really is no other way to put it. It runs for less than ninety minutes, but I had entirely given up on it just 45 minutes in. The inherent problem with Lucy, and that includes the racism so evident in the film, is that it makes the protagonist basically God halfway through. As such, any potential threat against her character just doesn’t make any sense because it’s basically nonexistent. Its treatment of its Asian characters is deplorable and I’m not sure where Luc Besson went off the deep end on this issue. Probably somewhere around the evil Turks in Taken 2. First of all, the whole premise that human beings only use ten percent of their brain is not true, even though it may be true for the move itself. Morgan Freeman does his best to try and explain how that theory was even potentially possible and even that is a little dull because Morgan Freeman is essentially cast as the exact same person in basically everything. “I am now the wise man who must explain the plot and tell characters where their true journeys lie.” We get it.
Luc Besson is a competent director and an even less competent writer. His The Professional and The Fifth Element remain in my pantheon of must-see films but he’s gone off the deep end here. The Asian characters are basically all gangsters and at a certain point you just have to groan at the complete lack of imbuing any semblance of Asian culture into the film. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but they can at the very least research the language before they write random Chinese words all over the wall. And the white woman being chased by a group of scary men from another race calls back to Birth of a Nation, and that is not a reference you want being associated with your film in any way, shape, or form. Oh, and most of the natives can’t speak English either and that’s a running gag because why not I guess.
What saves this entire endeavor to a certain extent, however, is the lead actress that gives it her absolute best. Scarlett Johannsen kicks ass throughout the brief-but-feels-exceptionally-long running time of Lucy. Channeling the transition from weak drug mule to basically human female God requires the ability to have a tremendous amount of range and Johannsen is able to do that so effortlessly it sort of makes you hate the movie around her even more. When her eyes gleam after the effects of the drugs begin to kick in, you don’t need dialogue to understand that hell is going to break bloody loose and it’s going to be at least semi-fantastic. The other positive argument that one can make about Lucy is that it never really is boring. There’s always something or other going on the screen that keeps your attention glued to the screen, even if you’re constantly wondering whether or not you should have caught that charming little indie across the hallway. At best, Lucy is a fun ride that gets dumber as it goes but hey, you’re enjoying yourself and then you realize you don’t remember a damned thing about it after you see it. At its worst, it’s a massive trainwreck. Maybe you could go see this just for Scarlett Johansson kicking ass. Or you could instead wait for the Black Widow movie Marvel would be stupid not to make soon, right? Right?
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Luc Besson
Producer: Virginie Silla
Written by: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik
Music: Éric Serra
Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast
Editing: Luc Besson
Production Company: Canal+, Ciné+, EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production
Distributor: EuropaCorp. Distribution (France), Universal Pictures (International)
Running Time: 89 minutes
Release Dates: 25 July 2014 (US), 6 August 2014 (France)
Image Courtesy: The Silver Screen Critic @ WordPress