From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
My Opinion: Imagine a film that only lived up to 10% of its potential. That’s Lucy.
Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but even with its completely bonkers (and scientifically inaccurate) premise, Lucy had the potential to go completely insane with its concept. For a good portion of the film, it flirts with crazy pretty seriously. As Lucy’s mental capacity increases, her actions also grow crazier. But the ending feels rushed and abrupt, like another act could easily exist after it. With a runtime under 90 minutes, it didn’t need to wrap up so quickly.
I also have to give credit to Universal’s publicity department for pushing this as an action-packed film for Scarlett Johansson. Fair warning, though: between the trailers and a couple of lengthier clips released online before the film’s formal release, most of Lucy’s big sequences have already been shown in some form. A lot of the remaining action is left to other actors.
So is the film worth watching at all? Aside from an ending that left me cold, the film was enjoyable in large parts. Johansson captures Lucy’s fear and naïveté at the beginning of the film as well as her largely detached personality as her mental capacity increases. It’s an interesting piece to compare and contrast with her role in (the far superior) Under the Skin. Johansson also proves again that she could easily carry her own Black Widow film.