Once again, my friend Mark and I trapse down to the cinema, at my suggestion, to check out Lucy, the new Luc Besson “Philosophical Thriller” at where the eponymous Lucy, played by Scarlett Johannson, gains access to “more then 10 percent of her brain”. Just read that link, cause it’s a popular myth. But when philosophy starts with that, I kind of can already predict what I am in for.
Luc Besson, the one that behind The Fifth Element, Leon the Professional, Banlieue 13, Transporter, Taken, and a whole bunch of others I haven’t seen. Is a damn decent director, screenwriter and producer for action films. Normally, if I hear he made another film, I can say, “yeah it shouldn’t be too bad”. Well, now there’s Lucy.
Lucy (Scarlett Johannson) is a blonde student, who very quickly ends up with a kilo of experimental drugs surgically implanted in her abdominal cavity. Patriarchal violence causes the bag to burst and Lucy begins to be endowed with a rising wave of superpowers. How is this possible? Well as Morgan Freeman’s narration explains, Lucy is given access to use more than ten percent of her brain.
Now I’m going to pause for a second. You can stop reading this at any time. I mean, you can probably see where I might be going with this.
Anyway, Morgan Freeman rattles on reading a script about how evolution is the cause of our mighty but feature-locked brains. Everything he says could be, at best, construed as new-age mumbo jumbo. Kind of like the person who doesn’t believe in global warming or a spherical world. His powerpoint presentation flashes up with hypotheses of what people might be capable of when they can access a higher percentage of their brain. One of them says “Perceive in more wavelengths of light”. Hhuuuhhh. Look, I’m not going to explain this right now, I have a film review being written right now. Contact a scientist and ask them about how this is not possible. Morgan Freeman explains that with higher percentages that the person would be able to completely control not only their own bodies, but the bodies of people around them, to the point of achieving god-like psychic powers.
Seriously, still reading? Wow. I mean this is going to filled with spoilers. Technically, there are no spoilers, every story has been written before, just retold in a field of variations.
So back to Luc Besson’s Akira. Lucy, now having escaped the clutches of the drug gang, goes to a hospital to have the bag of drugs removed from her person, all the while calling her mother to tell her that she remembers every moment in her life, including being breastfed. If someone call me and told me that, I thought that they were either high or drunk, say “You’re welcome”, hang up and then turn off my phone. As time passes, Lucy’s brain is expanding in potential, as is ScarJo’s ability to play an android. She, through some guns, knives and telepathy, finds out where the other mules are headed.
It doesn’t stop being wacky. The bad kind of wacky. Like an AirBnB guest that just invited every crystal-fueled person into your house for a big blowout, because of a loophole in the user agreement. I mostly write this reviews like public service announcements. This is why we have hazard signs. The world is a dangerous place. And honestly, we pretty blind to danger.
I lost track of time at some point. Lucy is able to change the colour of her hair, talk across the world through the radio spectrum and control electrical signals. I don’t know. She contacts the French Police Nationale (I assumed they were that, they may have been Interpol, but I don’t remember that being established). The police apprehend the mules to prepare them to extract the drugs. The drug gang’s agents make make moves to extract it themselves. Lucy arrives in Paris, knocks out everyone in her vicinity in the airport and then proceeds to go on a car chase through the city. The cop riding in the the passenger seat claims that she is going to get him killed. “You don’t really die” she says robotically. Lucy at this point has killed more than a dozen people throughout the course of the film.
Lucy and policeman arrive at the hospital, but so have the gang members who are in the process of removing the drugs from inside the mules. There’s a shootout and Lucy makes a bunch of gang members float in the air (read: not kill them), so she can obtain the remaining amount of the drugs.
Having contacted Morgan Freeman, who assembles the Avengers, I mean, the smartest people in the world, so they can have a long chat with Lucy about the nature of Life, the Universe and Everything. Lucy says things very quickly, because when you talk a lot and very quickly, you sound like a genius. It had something to do with Time and we wouldn’t exist without it. The gang leader wanting to kill Lucy, storms the University, and there is another shootout between the police and the gang. Meanwhile Lucy takes all of the drugs and we are treated to Luc Besson’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. She travels around the world and back in time to touch with the first human (which was named Lucy, hence the title of the film I suppose). And a long extended sequence of space (read: SPPPPAAAACCCCCEEEEEE) and beyond, all intercut with the shootout. Because she is a science-god, Lucy builds a computer out of black goo. Also she might be the black goo.
The gang members are killed, Morgan Freeman gets a usb key that looks like the Monolith and Lucy gets to be ‘Everywhere’ And then she closes with “Life was given to us a billion years ago, and now you know what to do with it.” The film closes on a black screen with a sci-fi font.
Now you have survived this far. Well Done. Time to wrap this up. I full well knew what to expect from this film. The whole ‘ten percent’ thing says it all really. Luc Besson is a tight action director and writer. He is not a philosopher. He should not be writing films and directing films based around his philosophy, wherever he picked it up from. Because there is no real story in this, just a show reel of images from a multitude of sources (part of which I suspect were pinched from Reggio and Fricke films), Morgan Freeman talking and all of this spliced by action sequences. There is only one thing I can walk away from this film. When the credits rolled and the lights began to wake, I turned to Mark and asked him what he thought. He looked at me and said “I hate you“.
- Lucy basically becomes invincible when she gets to Paris, so any threat to her is moot. This renders the threat against her transformation at the end of the film into something of zero consequence.
- Before Lucy takes all of the space drugs, she can essentially change matter. So why not just synthesise the drug automagically inside of her?
- There is no cost of energy as Lucy transforms into a science-goddess. Normally, for a system to have an increased output of function, it requires a greater amount of energy. Since the transformation is seemless (ie perfect understanding and control of the universe) why doesn’t Lucy simply transform everyone on planet Earth, like some hypersingularity, rather than leaving humanity in the dirt? Seems bloody selfish to me.
- The dude from Old Boy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was the Gang leader in this. These are movies you should watch instead.
- I once considered that Luc Besson might be able to be the guy to direct the next Dune movie. I retract my statement.
- That stock footage of animals fucking made me feel I was in the wrong cinema.
- I’m fairly certain there is a project to capture and archive every word in the english language as said by Morgan Freeman. I predict, if the AI Singularity happens, it will have the voice of Morgan Freeman.
- Where’s my cyberpunk film? We live in the second decade of the Twenty-First Century and there hasn’t been a good cyberpunk film to date. I mean something like Bladerunner or Strange Days. Man, Strange Days was good.
- Space is awesome. Look up the Nasa Image Library.
- EDIT: Mark’s review is up now, right here. I believe he will have his vengeance in a few yearz and it might be in a very Alexander Dumas kind-of-way.