The movie follows Lucy, 25-year-old college student who enjoys partying and hanging out with the wrong people living in Taiwan. She is tricked to work as a drug mule by her new boyfriend ,who she had just met a week earlier, for his employer, a Korean gangster and drug lord named Mr. Jang. The packaged drug is sewn into Lucy’s abdomen and that of others who will also transport the drug for sales in Europe. While in captivity, one of Lucy’s captors kicks her mercilessly in the stomach, causing the bag inside her to leak, releasing the brain-enhancing drug into her system. As a result, she begins acquiring increasingly powerful mental talents and enhanced physical capabilities, such as absorbing information instantaneously,telekinesis, mental time travel, and can choose not to feel pain or other discomforts, in addition to other abilities. With her superhuman powers growing, and seemingly causing her to lose control, Lucy only has a short amount of time left to find the men responsible for her new-found powers and contacts a well-known scientist and doctor, Professor Norman, whose research may be the key to saving her.
There are only two relatively well-known actors involved in the movie, and only half of them deliver a strong performance. Johannson is at the top of her game, just recently finishing some amazing work on the movie Her as well as participating in the wildly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. She pulls no punches here, and manages to deliver some really solid acting through sub par and wildly scattered writing. Morgan Freeman’s performance as Professor Norman isn’t anything spectacular. Surely the performance would have seemed much less stoic and contrived had the script been written better, but it seemed Mr. Freeman was only there to collect his paycheck and get out of this weird movie as quickly as possible.
As far as the filmmaking goes, Besson seems to be all over the place. Scattered writing, dodgy effects, and some weird montage that cut into scenes of what was actually going on and made it seem like a very sad attempt at giving the film some artistic integrity. VFX were pretty bad, especially the animation of the CG characters, and after seeing what sort of CG animation is capable of in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I was taken out of the film because of how cheesy it looked. However, the strong link in the visuals department is the Director of Photography. Every shot was perfectly lined up, and the cinematography team really stepped up to convey the emotion that the writing and acting failed to deliver.
The dialogue heavy scenes were filled with confusing pseudoscience and really hard to follow, and i guess Besson assumes that humans actually do use only 10% of our brain because he really tries hard to explain and justify his premise through dialogue instead of just leaving it up to imagination or allowing audiences to make inferences or draw their own conclusions. The action however was a lot of fun to watch. The choreography was great, and it is always a lot of fun to watch Scarlet Johannson in roles like this where she gets to be strong and intimidating.
The end of the movie leaves much more to be desired, and kind of ends suddenly. The idea that Lucy discovers more and more about herself, her existence and explores the concept of not having to be bound by time and space was interesting, but it was barely there, as if they spent so much time coming up with the movie’s awful tagline that they ran out of time to flesh out a meaningful ending. The basic idea of the plot was there, but I believe the film would have been much more entertaining if the whole “10% of the brain” thing was left out, and it was just a movie about a normal girl who gains crazy superpowers because of a scary drug accident.