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From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Lucy also stars Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman.
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Scarlett Johansson is a free spirit in the Far East who is conned into giving a briefcase full of illegal drugs to a Yakuza type mob and is abducted after her con man is murdered before her eyes. She awakens from surgery to find a bag of the drug implanted in her abdominal cavity. Three other men have had the same procedure performed on them and the four are supposed to carry the drugs to European countries for retrieval by the mob.
Johansson/Lucy is assaulted in a mob safe house and the bag of drugs in her splits open to release the drug into her system. She escapes in spectacular fashion.
In the meantime, Morgan Freeman plays a distinguished and respected researcher on the human brain and its potential for increased utilization. His discussions are interesting and seem very plausible although the ultimate achievements are not knowable.
Choi Min-Sik plays the leader of the mob, a ruthless and cold blooded killer who develops a fatal attraction to Lucy. The highlight of the movie in my opinion was her discussion face to face with him when she has made her escape and he was in a bit of discomfort.
Lucy is now on a mission to complete 100% of her brain capacity before she dies, and that leads to some fact action and a huge gunfight before she confirms all of Freeman's theories and suppositions as very real before she is transformed into energy.
This movie is an excellent mix of science fiction and compelling intellectual research. If you have an open mind, you sill enjoy this one.
The plot is fairly straightforward. Lucy, who first appears in the film partying while doing some heavy drinking in a bar, and her skeezy boyfriend are outside an office building when he asks her to deliver a briefcase to a mystery man. She doesn't want to but he eventually forces her to do so in a somewhat bizarre way.
Reluctantly, she enters the building to deliver the briefcase and, suddenly, everything goes pear shaped.
I won't reveal what happens next because that could spoil the movie for you but I will say that Lucy, after receiving a beating, transforms from party girl into something much, much more. It is her transformation and how she deals with it that makes this movie first rate, in my opinion. Scarlett Johansson brings a subtle depth to her performance as she goes from flighty raver to frightened girl to something else entirely. Morgan Freeman handles his role as a world-renowned scientist with his usual skill. His performance is understated but effective as he portrays the only person on Earth who might just understand what is happening to Lucy.
As with many Luc Besson films, this movie is also a morality play of sorts. Every action has its consequences: Lucy parties hard and, as a consequence, she winds up in what at first seems to be mortal danger. The thugs are ruthless and greedy and that comes back to haunt them as the movie progresses.
The direction is flawless, in my opinion, and the special effects are well done.
I highly recommend it.
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