Action First, Story Third Undermine Film’s Potential
The action-thriller film by director/screenwriter Luc Besson has over-the-top action and thrills with chills, however actors Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman were given poorly used characters and with a nonsensical story that wasn’t helped by how the main and subplot were interwoven together throughout the film.
The film revolves around the titular character, Lucy (Johansson), receiving psychokinetic abilities due to a nootropic drug getting absorbed into her bloodstream. In and of itself, the plot is intriguing and gave Besson a lot play with as he wrote the script. However he cut down the potential of the film by multiplying the locations and the need to show overindulgent action sequences that were in direct opposition to the information that Professor Samuel Norman (Freeman) had relayed through exposition delivered in the lecture he was introduced in or just took up too much time like the Parisian car chase.
The introduction of Lucy at the beginning of the film in retrospect was a tell-tell sign of the problems the film would have as she is forced by her boyfriend to deliver a suitcase for him after it’s handcuffed to her, the biggest problem was that instead of delivering it she could have easily bashed it upside his head and gotten the handcuff cut off. Next was her interaction with the Korean mob, which need not have taken place at all since it would have been easy to take off the handcuff and x-ray the suitcase since it was clearly too lightweight to be lead-lined. And the interruptions of lions stalking gazelles while Lucy was in the lobby was needless over-the-top foreshadowing. In fact initial setting of Taiwan wasn’t really necessary with the film ending in Paris given the events taking place, it could have all taken place in Paris or ended in Seoul (or Tokyo). Without an uncomplicated process of going to one location to another, the character played by Amr Waked could played a larger part in the film as Lucy’s connection to human emotion as she continues to transcend humanity with the increase of her intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. In fact, instead of using the “10% myth” Besson could have instead used the concept of brain efficiency along with internal genetic modification by the introduced drug to help explain Lucy’s changes.
Once the end credits begin, the biggest take away from Lucy is that the film could have been better given the great performances by Johansson and Freeman. But as I said at the beginning of this review, both characters were poorly used throughout a nonsensically plotted film. Instead of just a simple thriller, Besson could have created a high level psychological thriller with plenty of action but went action first and story third.