Friday, July 25, 2014



Lucy official site I'm sure you can imagine what your brain on drugs looks like after the long running public service announcement (PSA) with eggs in a frying pan. Now, that image may have a new outlook according to French writer/director Luc Besson's preposterous yet electrifying sci-fi film "Lucy" (France/USA 2014 | 89 min.). If you takes the drug which the film's heroine takes, then although the drug will enhance your brain power and will make you a superman (or superwoman), but you will also die quickly when your body cells multiply in a lightning speed like cancer cells. Therefore, it's still not a good idea to take drugs.

However, that's not possible for the film's heroine Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) to decide. When the film opens in Taiwan (Why in Taiwan? To show off the tower Taipei 101?), Lucy is reluctantly dragged into a drug smuggling operation led by a Korean mafia boss Jang (Choi Min-sik).

The drug is called CPH4, which is able to unleash human's brain power that is currently functioning at only 10%. That scientifically false 10% assessment is according to a hypothetic theory from Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), who delivers his lecture in Paris as if he is in a recording session of narrating an episode of PBS's program Nature (his mesmerizing voice is probably why Morgan Freeman is casted to this role). CPH4 is claimed to bring brain's power to its fullest, to trigger brain's cells in making super connections, and to exponentially empower human's ability.

When Lucy accidentally gets CPH4 into her blood, she is able to gain control over heavy armed Korean gangsters, to learn knowledge and analyze information in a lightning speed, to block off physical pain, and to regain her memory about how her mom's breast milk tastes like (please don't laugh).

But she knows her time is numbered when her cells multiply like cancer. She desperately needs to get in touch with Professor Norman so she can give him the information about her brain on drugs. Maybe Professor Norman then can update that PSA about brain on drugs with his amazing voiceover.

Lucy Official Site

Despite the utterly unconvincing performance by Scarlet Johansson in the opening scene as a terrified young woman, she gains her momentum and confidence in her performance when she gets her superpower later in the film. Speaking of brain on drugs, does that CPH4 have an effect on her acting as well? No matter what the reason might be, she leads the film's many exhilarating action sequences which make the film watchable.

But after all, it might be the write/director Luc Besson who needs the brain enhancement drug the most. He certainly needs a boost in order to make his ludicrous story more credible and to make his imagination beyond the scope of other sci-fi films. Many laughable dialogues reflect the director's limit knowledge in mathematics and science. Taking the example when Lucy uses a laptop computer, even though Lucy's brain becomes so powerful and can alter the electronic communication, that doesn't mean that the laptop she is using suddenly can become a super computer as well. If so, what drug did the laptop take? In the film, when Lucy's fingers tap on the laptop, it instantly runs so fast that we can hardly see the scrolling screen, except Lucy. If her brain can process so fast, why does she need the computer for at the first place?

The last scene of the film especially speaks volume about the filmmaker's limited knowledge in technology. After an unpleasant visual of Lucy's cell explosion, she hands over Professor Norman an USB thumb drive which presumably contains important information about her brain function. Despite the setup that Lucy possesses the power to alter ratio waves and electronic transmissions, somehow she cannot transfer the data without a physical media such as a thumb drive. At least the filmmaker didn't let her hand over the professor a floppy disk. Whew!

"Lucy," a Universal Pictures release, opens on Friday, July 25, 2014.

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