An American college student in Taiwan (Scarlett Johansson) is begged by her boyfriend Richard (Pilou Asbæk, "A Hijacking") to deliver a locked briefcase after an all night partying binge. She objects, but when he suddenly handcuffs it to her she has no other choice. When, as instructed, she asks for Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi, "Oldboy"), she's already unnerved, but when she sees Richard splattered against the lobby glass by gunfire and is hustled into an elevator by Jang's thugs, the future looks dire for "Lucy."
I was tempted to say 'what a load of crap' and leave it at that, but here goes. Writer/director Luc Besson ("La Femme Nikita," "The Professional") leans on the old myth that humans only use 10% of their brains to spin his tale of a drug mule whose surgically embedded package of synthetic CPH4 leaks, delivering a lethal dose which opens her mind to its full capacity. Unfortunately that's the most plausible idea in his screenplay, an undisciplined piece of hackery apparently aimed at twelve year-old boys. Giving a very similar performance to her great work in "Under the Skin," Johansson's tranced out dehumanization mixed with wonder is about as fine as anyone could do given this material, where fast firing brain neurons apparently increase one's laptop RAM to something approaching the speed of light.
Besson crosscuts the beginning of Lucy's ordeal with a lecture being given by Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) about his bogus brain theory. After Lucy goes all Nikita on her captors, she determines the destinations of the other three mules (by reading Jang's brain with her thumbs), tells her roommate Caroline (Analeigh Tipton, "Crazy, Stupid, Love.") how to avoid imminent kidney problems, has surgery, speed reads Norman's research, and contacts Paris police Captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen") to alert him to the drugs arriving in Rome, Berlin and his home town. She then teams up with him to get the drugs and after taking out Jang's men once again, races with Del Rio to Norman in a CGI-heavy chase sequence. Lucy's seeking guidance and Norman has little to offer other than to share her knowledge. So as she becomes her own computer, looking like a Spider-Man lab experiment gone wrong, she time travels all the way back to her prehistoric namesake, probably blowing the creature's mind in such a way as to change the fabric of life on Earth as we know it, if not outright destroying it.
There are wannabe "Inception" moments, sped up scenes of humans en masse and cuts to cheetahs taking down gazelles. Besson vomits cinematic nonsense all over the screen hoping no one will notice the illogic it's built upon. "Lucy" makes Neil Burger's similarly themed "Limitless" look like a masterpiece in comparison.
Robin did not see this film.
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