Remember Limitless, the 2011 thriller in which Bradley Cooper becomes a whirling killer dervish from a drug that lets him access 100 percent of his brain? Well, Lucy is basically the same movie with Scarlett Johansson in the Cooper role. It’s not a good trade-off.
Johansson’s Lucy is 100 percent in the looks department. Otherwise she’s just a student in Taiwan who gets tricked into becoming a drug moll for the sadistic Mr. Jang (Choi Min Sik). When the drug implanted into her intestines springs a leak, Lucy is suddenly a superbrain, capable of all kinds of things, kinky and lethal.
It sounds cool. Plus I’m basically a sucker for filmmaker Luc Besson’s female warriors, from La Femme Nikita (Anne Parillaud) to The Professional (Natalie Portman) and The Fifth Element (Milla Jovovich). And, hell, Johansson can do everything Cooper does, and in heels. But Besson lets the fun drain out of Lucy. Things get all pokey and ponderous when Morgan Freeman shows up as a professor who explains the “meaning” of what’s going on. What starts as a batshit female revenge fantasy ends as a bad LSD trip. Talk about a buzzkill.