Luc Besson creates a potent hybrid between his kaleidoscopically kooky science fiction and his adrenaline-gushing action films with “Lucy.”
The French writer-director’s latest cinematic mind-job mashes up the rainbow hues and superwoman savior concept from his ridiculously entertaining “The Fifth Element” and the blood-pumping car chases and shoot-ups from his crazily stylish “Transporter,” then adds hefty doses of “The Matrix”-style high-concept sci-fi musings.
“Lucy” is based on that old chestnut that people only use 10 percent of their brain capacity, a notion that modern science has debunked. Since Besson veritably embodies the phrase “style over substance” — and it is a movie, after all — the auteur nevertheless takes the concept and runs with it. Wisely, he keeps “Lucy” a sprint, a breathless 90-minute dash that thoroughly entertains and then ends before the ludicrousness of it all can knock moviegoers off track.
After playing a supporting role in the Marvel cinematic universe, Scarlett Johansson proves she has the chops to carry an action movie as Lucy, an American student living in Taipei, Taiwan, who has gone a bit wild. That includes a sketchy boyfriend (Pilou Asbæk) who bullies her into delivering a package to a businessman’s luxury high-rise.
Of course, Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) is actually a gangster — and a rather bloodthirsty one, at that — rather than a businessman, and he turns Lucy into a mule for a new drug. But when his sadistic lackeys accidentally break open the pouch in her abdomen, her body is flooded with powerful blue crystals that unlock previously untapped quadrants of her brain.
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Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked. (Strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality)