Slickly Sci-Fi, Lucy Only Feigns at Depth

Slickly Sci-Fi, <I>Lucy</I> Only Feigns at Depth
Photo by Jessica Forde - © Universal Pictures
More human than human.

Scarlett Johansson has always seemed more human than human, her round lips and hips signaling something primordial to us cavemen huddled in the dark of the movie theater. How odd then that her last three films have reduced her to a robotic destroyer of men: as an operating system in Her, a man-eating alien in Under the Skin, and now Lucy, in which an overdose of CPH4 -- the chemical that develops embryos in the womb -- turns her into a blank-eyed assassin with 100 percent mental control over her brain, as opposed to the 10 percent that merely allows us mortals to solve Rubik's Cubes and blast astronauts into space.

Director Luc Besson must think the audience is operating with even fewer synapses. Here, his style is slick but hand-holdingly literal. In the opening when Lucy's boyfriend-of-the-week (Pilou Asbæk) forces her to deliver a briefcase to a Taiwanese gangster (Min-sik Choi), Besson edits in a shot of a mouse in a trap. When that gangster sews drugs in her stomach, he splices in a cheetah snapping the neck of a gazelle.

Later, as the newly bionic Lucy seeks vengeance, Besson even tries to convince us she's a strong female character, which to the majority of male action directors simply means a sexy, silent badass. The real females in the audience may wonder why a genius would limp across a multi-continental gunfight in five-inch Louboutins. (Hey smarty-pants, wear sneakers.)


Directed by Luc Besson
Universal Pictures
Opens July 25

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There's enough mumbo jumbo about space and time and cellular division to allow Lucy to feign depth, but what lingers is Besson's regressive belief that even the most intelligent woman on earth can't figure out how to get her way without a miniskirt and a gun.

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Actually she doesn't seek vengeance, at no point does she actually seek vengeance in the film. She seek more of the drug, she seek understanding of what happening to her and she sort to share what she learned during her transformation to the one person who could have understood what was happening to her. She only ever harms people in the film that proposes a risk to her or tries to stop her from doing the above. Really if she wanted vengeance she could have just killed all the gangsters about 30 minutes into the film and let interpol take care of the mules but she didn't. In fact she showed little care for the gangsters or their actions throughout the whole film. She didn't even kill the person that put the drugs inside her in the first place, that white geezer. 

Amy Vasquez
Amy Vasquez

Will any of these top money making actors pledge to refuse roles where the character uses guns? As you suggest, it's cliche, it's too much all the time. Raise the bar.


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