Lucy (2014)

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Luc Besson directs Scarlett Johansson, Mogan Freeman and Choi Min-sik in this sci-fi thriller about a party girl whose mind is expanded by an experimental drug, giving her demigod-like superpowers.

For the first half hour it feels like the Luc Besson of Nikita and Subway and Leon is back with a vengeance. A bubblegum rush of nasty intensity as an increasingly jittery Johansson is pressganged into muling drugs by some very bad men in a Taiwan penthouse suite. The constant escalating threat, expertly orchestrated disorientation and burst of comic book mayhem mislead you into thinking that all of Lucy will be a five star thrill ride. Then with the popcorn swiftly finished, we settle into an existential drama where an increasingly oblivious, dehumanised Johansson turns into a time tripping organic super computer. While this throws up some mind bending imagery, it also completely devalues the stakes. Our herioine is no longer at risk from the chasing hit squad, she is almost oblivious to them. So when car chases and bazooka shoot outs jut awkwardly into all the cod philosophical posturing, they feel like irritants to our now dead eyed protagonist rather than obstacles.  There’s enough bang, whizz and wallop that Lucy isn’t a completely redundant Paris set exercise in style and pretension. And that gripping opening act is so, so, so good that you just have to walk off into the rain and just accept that we’ll always have Taipei.

7

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