Viewed – 26 August 2014 Cinema
I went into this a little bit apprehensive. For a long time now it seems I have waited for director Luc Besson to wow me again, at least on a par with his sci-fi opus The Fifth Element, even if I wasn’t quite expecting something as genre defining as Leon. This director who in recent memory has stuck to producing and writing credits, has failed to really get his mojo back. The trailer to this latest offering however held promise. It had current hot property Scarlett Johansson in it, and had all the high concept cool I had grown to love about Besson’s work.
Johansson plays Lucy, a seemingly ordinary girl with a few suspect friends, staying in Taiwan who gets unwittingly involved with a group of gangsters, headed by Old Boy star Choi Min-sik. Before she realises what’s going on, she’s drugged and wakes up in a hotel room, quickly discovering a bandage around her mid section, and is informed she will be a human courier for an experimental drug that has been concealed inside of her(!). However shit goes down as it normally does and soon Lucy is feeling the affects of this drug that begins to open her brain to greater than normal ability, gifting her with various super-human powers like telekinesis and the ability to transform her hair colour … to start with.
This is flashy, stylish and very much a fun ride for Johansson and it’s clear Besson loves the concept. Johansson captures vulnerability, bad-ass toughness and out of control mania with ease, whilst delivering some very cool action ‘beats’ along the way. Morgan Freeman is also on hand as a scientist, but doesn’t really do much out of type for him. Stand-out moments involve a great car ride (I won’t say ‘chase’) and some trippy special effects (Lucy seeking out a telephone call by weaving her hand through the various phone signals), and that bit in the airplane toilet … wow. However this was also a concept begging for restraint, needing the breaks applied now and then (I really wanted more of Lucy kicking ass) but Besson instead applied the accelerator and in the closing moments – it got pretty insane. Choi Min-sik in his first American movie may lack any English dialogue but still had presence to spare … with a great entrance suitable to his legacy.
This was very enjoyable despite shortcomings (why was Lucy chained up in that cell?), so for Scarlett Johansson fans and anyone after something a bit different – I say check this out.
Verdict: 3.5 /5