Blu-ray Review: Lucy

LucyBlu_optSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Luc Besson | CAST: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, Amr Waked, Analeigh Tipton
RELEASE DATE: 1/20/15 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo $34.98
BONUSES: two featurettes
SPECS: R | 90 min. | Sci-fi action thriller | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio    | Video | Overall 

 

In 2014’s Lucy, a young American woman in Taipei is tricked into being a drug mule by a nasty crime lord and has a bag of valuable synthetic drugs surgically sewn into her abdomen. This introductory set-up leads to all kinds of sci-fi, thriller and action possibilities when the bag breaks open, floods the lively lady’s system, and mutates her into a seriously superior being with increasingly enhanced physical and mental capabilities that enables her to seek out some serious revenge.

It may sound silly, but this latest entry from Luc Besson (who’s fetishized female ass-kickers in the past in La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element and, more recently, Colombiana, which he produced), and Don Jon‘s Scarlett Johansson (a proven toughie in the recent Iron Man and Avengers franchises) rises above the silliness as an enthusiastically mounted, colorful and fast-moving pop entertainment.

Scarlett Johansson is Lucy

Scarlett Johansson is Lucy

Lucy is most effective during its lively action scenes (which include a wild car chase through the streets of Paris, a furious shoot-out at The Sorbonne, and lots of random thug-trouncing), Besson’s script and visual design put an equal amount of emphasis on the mental effects of the CPH4 drug that invades Scarlett’s system. As described, it allows Lucy to tap into some serious brain power, giving her the powers of telekinesis, telepathy and even mental time travel. And this opens the gates for Besson to let loose all manner of swirling colors, digital effects, globe-and-cosmos-hopping cutaways and the requisite whirlwind editing.

The science behind Lucy—tapping into the boundless energy found in the human brain; unleashing the history of the universe in our cells—plays like a kind of Altered States Lite, but it sounds important because it’s served up by Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises) in his small role as a brain scientist fond of exposition. More engaging on the human front is veteran South Korean actor Choi Min-Sik of Old Boy fame as a Taipei baddie who snarls with teeth-gnashing glee as he empties his automatic weapons at anything that angers him.

Lucy’s sound and vision comes off with appropriate razzle-dazzle in its Blu-ray incarnation, with the work of Besson’s longtime cinematographer Thierry Arbogast and VFX studio Rodeo FX looking as luscious as the film’s titular heroine.

The Blu-ray and DVD contain two brief featurettes: the first explores Lucy’s production via clips and interviews with the film’s principal cast and crew members; the second features Morgan Freeman guiding us through the “true science” behind the world of Lucy, CPH4 not included.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.