Luc Besson has never done anything by halves. Director of Nikita and The Fifth Element among others, his in-your-face storytelling style has garnered much attention. His ability to effectively marry action with comedy has worked wonders with many memorable scenes.
Lucy should add to his cinematic mystique. Although his films aren’t generally high-art, Besson is good at what he does and has evolved into a reliable mainstay of commercial cinema.
Living in Taiwan as a drug mule, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is having trouble with her latest assignment. A drug satchel implanted in her body suddenly breaks free and her world changes. Morphing into a superhuman who can quickly absorb new skills, her abilities stun those around her. Among them is Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) who tries to protect her from mobsters after their drug stash. As Lucy becomes more powerful her enemies face little chance against her quest for vengeance.
Despite quickly going off the narrative rails, Lucy is fun. It isn’t the dumb kind Besson has previously filmed but has more intelligence amongst its mayhem. As Lucy gradually becomes hyper-smart, her skills adapt to any situation. This creates an unpredictable edge with scenes never quite developing as expected. Whilst the indestructible nature of her powers occasionally feel contrived, the energy and rapid-fire cinematography works in mostly covering any ludicrous plot holes.
Ridiculous, Lucy certainly is, but it is saved from silliness-overload by the performances. Johansson makes for a fine heroine with her character’s determination something at which anyone can cheer. Freeman provides his usual commanding presence, giving Lucy much needed respectability. Aided by some dazzling action sequences, the cast are well served by Besson’s eccentric directorial style. It doesn’t always work but when it does, it shows why he has remained an interesting craftsman of Euro-action epics.
Lucy is clever popcorn fluff never out-staying its welcome. Although moments detract from it being an overall amazing experience, it should satisfy thrill seekers of all persuasions.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7