A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
I have no idea why such amazing talents as Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman said “Yes” to Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy‘. Maybe it’s because it was shot in Taiwan and France, and the actors got to travel and see the sights, but it definitely couldn’t be because of the script or filming. There was a time when I loved Director/Writer/Producer Luc Besson. He gave us ‘Leon: The Professional‘, ‘The Fifth Element‘, and ‘La Femme Nikita‘. He makes most of his living by writing shoddy action movie screenplays and producing, such as the ‘Taken’ franchise, ‘The Transporter’ movies, and many other action films that you don’t remember anymore.
I would just like to know what happened to this once great filmmaker who gave us such great characters as Leon and Mathilda or Corbin Dallas, Leeloo, Ruby Rhod, and the impressive Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg. Besson’s newest film ‘Lucy’ has a decent set up, but fails to tell us what the characters or film itself is trying to tell us. At one point, it wants to be a superhero movie, then at other times it wants to be a cat and mouse gangster film, then it wants to jump into a Terrence Malick ‘Tree of Life‘ scenario complete with dinosaurs, time travel, and the Old West.
For some reason, Besson wanted to keep ‘Lucy‘ right at 89 minutes, but decided to pack enough characters and story to last 2.5 hours. Needless to say, you won’t feel anything for any character, no matter what their demise. If you’ve seen the trailer or even the tag line for the poster, then you already have a sense of what the film is about. Johansson plays an American girl named Lucy, living with a friend in Taiwan, who spends her days going to class and her nights partying with all the wrong people. She meets up with a guy who she dated for one week, who asks her to deliver a briefcase to a guy she doesn’t know. This guy turns out to be some sort of drug lord yakuza named Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi), who now has Lucy and three other people in his custody.
They are all told they will be drug mules for a new type of drug that is guaranteed to make kids go wild, and all four captives are cut open to put the drugs in their lower stomach for transport across the globe. Lucy is beaten by one of Mr. Jang’s goons for not putting out and one of the bags of drugs in her body starts to leak out into her blood stream. Due to a chemical in the drug that creates life for pregnant women, Lucy is able to use more than just 10% of her brain, which brings us to the overall story arc of the film. If you can use more than 10% of your brain, or hell, if you can use 100% of your brain, what would you be capable of? That is what Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), tries to answer for us, as his scenes are spliced into some of the action beats as he is giving a lecture to students and colleagues on what a human being is capable of if they start using more than just the average 10% of brain power we are given.
Well it seems that Besson thinks that it turns you into Superman, Magneto, Professor Xavier, Mystique, and Wolverine all at once, as Lucy now has telekinetic powers, X-ray vision, the ability to control people and objects, the ability to change her physical appearance in one second, and the ability to heal faster. The theories here are so insane that they are laughable, as in one scene, we see Lucy looking at people in a populated area on their mobile phones, able to see their cell signals shoot in the air. And just like a touch screen computer, she can move her hands and move the signals to find something she is looking for, which is Mr. Jang and his posse who are after Lucy. But after the first action scene with Lucy literally moving her hand from her left to the right, which takes out a dozen armed gang members, we never again feel like she is in any real danger. And it’s completely ludicrous that in the final climactic fight scene, that she doesn’t help any of the real police officers in the stand off with the yakuza, when all she has to do is move her hand. But hey, she is now time traveling and turning into a computer, literally.
Besson thinks that is we use more than 10% of our brain, we become less human, as Lucy turns into basically a ‘Terminator‘ void of any emotion. Man, what a waste of a good set up and talent. Johansson is good with what she’s given, but the script doesn’t give her much to work with, besides one scene when she is on the phone with her mother, telling her that she can feel everything and that she is going to die. And Freeman is there to play the same role as he always plays, which is the older man with wisdom. ‘Lucy‘ is a superhero movie without any fighting in it, besides some gunplay. It definitely wants to be something more in that Lucy might have the answers now to why we are all here, but instead of investigating that topic, it would rather spend more time on a band of gang members coming after Lucy, only to be immediately killed off with a wave of the hand.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Lucy' in 4K UHD comes with a 4K Disc and a Standard 50GB Blu-ray disc, plus the digital download insert from Universal. The discs are housed in a hard, black, plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Universal is knee deep into the 4K UHD game right now, and 'Lucy' is next on their list, which has a HEVC H.265 encode in HDR10 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This release has a digital download code as well as the standard Blu-ray version, in addition to the 4K disc. There is no 3D option here. The image is outstanding in 2160p with every nuance of detail popping right off screen. You'll be able to notice every facial mark and makeup effect easily here, and how it changes in the different light and shadows.
The costumes reveal the most intimate of stitching and individual hairs stick out nicely. The visual effects of all the binary code and names an numbers in the sky look impressive as well and never soft. The animals and jelly fish show off all their organs and fur exquisitely that you'l be able to make out every tiny detail on their bodies. Nothing looks flat, but rather gives the image a ton of depth, even in the wider shots, which give way to the sets and props showing off all of their imperfections and sometimes grimy look. The colors simply pop off screen as well, whether you're in a darkly lit room full of dirt, or in a warm setting with tons of yellows and reds, or even out in a big city - the color spectrum is limitless.
When in different lighting or dark situations, you'll be able to make out the different shades of Lucy's different outfits, all of which are rich with color. The black and white levels here are rich, deep, and well balanced at all times. The skin tones were magnificent and realistic as well. There were no issues with any banding, aliasing, or any noise, leaving this video presentation demo worthy.
This UHD release of 'Lucy' has a English: Dolby Atmos track, where I used a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker setup with the normal 7.1 surround and two overhead speakers, plus a subwoofer powering this sci-fi soundscape. The standard Blu-ray version has a DTS-HD 5.1 MA mix, but if you have the Dolby Atmos setup, I highly suggest you use it, because all of the sound elements are perfectly molded into this excellent sci-fi action soundscape here. The overhead speakers kick into high gear when Lucy's drugs take affect and she becomes "super-human".
It sounds like she is literally in your viewing room as she twirls and flips around. The gunshots and other weapon scenes pack a powerful punch, as each of the gun blasts, fly though the speakers and overhead, making it seem like there is a gun battle right in your living room. The bass kicks into high gear right from the first frame and gives you a glimpse of what the soundscape will be like. The other sound effects are robust and well layered with a ton of directionality. The ambient noises of nature and the big city life come through all speakers, even the overhead units constantly.
The noises are loud and balanced. The music always adds to the tone of the film and fully takes over the speakers when a big fight scene happens, without ever drowning out any of the other sound elements. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss or high shrills, leaving this audio presentation with excellent marks.
Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of 'Lucy' (HD, 10 min.) – This featurette was no doubt put together so the filmmakers could have some legitimacy in saying that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. So here we get a scientist telling us that humans might be using 10 percent or might be using 100 percent…no one knows for sure. I'm guessing the scientist seen here also doesn't believe in global warming or evolution.
The Evolution of 'Lucy' (HD, 16 min.) – A behind the scenes look at the creation and making of the movie, with comments from writer/director Luc Besson and stars Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.
'Lucy' is just one of the worst movies of the last few years. It makes no sense whatsoever and goes nowhere. It's unfortunate, because there is a ton of talent behind this movie, but the film can't really tell what type of movie it actually wants to be, and all of the actions and dialogue never really explain what's happening or even cares to give any sort of background to anything. That all being said, the video and audio presentations are all demo worthy. The UHD video and Dolby Atmos soundtrack is just excellent on all levels. The extras were imported over from the standard version, but no new extras are here. If you want to impress your friends with your new video and sound system, this is a good demo disc, but if you're looking for excellent content, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.