Saturday, August 30, 2014

Transcendent Girl

Lucy is just an American girl studying in Taipei.

Naturally, she is prone to doing all the obviously dumb things that give American gals a certain rep ’round the world, like over-partying and mingling with questionable men.

In other words, she’s nothing special.

Except Scarlett Johansson plays this rather unremarkable individual, and since she is the focus of director Luc Besson’s aptly titled Lucy, it soon becomes apparent that she does have som’in’ goin’ on.

That would be a newly acquired, unparalleled ability to tap into an increasing amount of her brain capacity, thanks to these designer drugs the henchmen of a drug lord played by South Korean star Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy) have surgically hidden inside her taut tummy so she can mule ’em over to Europe.

What Lucy proposes is that these drugs – known in the movie as CPH4 – allow Lucy to tap into more than the 10 percent brain capacity at which she (and the rest of the world) operate. She didn’t mean to ingest any of the drug (see, drug lords: do not kick your unwitting pawns around before they’ve gone and done your bidding...), but we wouldn’t have a flying f--- to give if she didn’t become this limitless being, right?

Once this happens, Besson’s story encourages us – through some stylized images and a conveniently expository supporting turn by a scientist portrayed by the go-to guy for this kind of thing, Morgan Freeman – to dare imagine what one could do if one could play with, say, 20, 50, or even 100 percent of one’s brain power.

In the case of Johansson’s character, for starters, that would be exact revenge on those who have given her the most consuming high of her life.

And then...disappear into nothing, yet become everything at the same time.

For a quick nugget (the movie is barely an hour and a half) about such a lofty concept, simple-minded Lucy is a brain tease about evolution (?) that is also like, way more entertaining and palatable than Johnny Depps Transcendence, which explored a similar theme last spring.

Too bad the movie has this silly get-the-f----outta-he’ quality to it, on account of the pseudoscience that it’s shamelessly crafted to back every notion it sets forth.

Sometimes, though, that is all you need to go along for the ride. Just go and ask the French cop that my new crush, Egyptian actor Amr Waked, plays in the production. He is our proxy, and while he has many a question in the end – as will you – it is clear that the answers that we get will have to suffice.

Believe me. They’ll be more than enough.

My Rating ***


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