Luc Besson gleefully combines two of his favourite movie elements - fit women and wildly insane action - in this raucous guilty pleasure. It's almost as if he's trying to make his own version of Inception, but this is one of those films that only pretends to be brainy and existential. It's actually a slick, silly, improbable action romp. And it's a lot of fun.
The title refers both to the very first female and an American student (Scarlett Johansson) living in Taipei whose loser boyfriend (A Hijacking's Pilou Asbaek) ropes her into making a delivery to notoriously vicious crime boss Jang (Oldboy's Choi Min-sik). Grabbed by Jang's goons, she's forced to become a mule, with a kilo of experimental drugs implanted in her abdomen. When it bursts, the drug allows her to access much more than the 10 percent of the brain humans normally use. By the time she hits 20%, she can already control people and objects around her. And the percentage keeps climbing. So she heads to Paris to meet mental capacity expert Norman (Morgan Freeman) and figure out what to do. But Jang and his army of thugs are in hot pursuit, so she enlists a local cop (Syriana's Amr Waked) to help.
Besson doesn't like to hang around, so the film takes off like a shot, only barely pausing for breath in its brisk 89-minute running time. On-screen captions keep us updated on Lucy's brain capacity, and it's great fun seeing every advancement she makes on her way to 100%. This allows Besson to indulge in deliriously enjoyable mind-bending action sequences that play out like he's a kid with a giant set of very cool toys. Outrageous car chases, giant explosions and random epic shootouts fill the screen as Lucy expands her mind, begins to bend reality around her and transcends the limits of numbers and letters.
Johansson is terrific, throwing herself into the role as if it makes any sense at all. She somehow manages to keep a straight face even in the film's most absurdly ridiculous moments, and she's nicely balanced by Freeman's calm authority, Waked's frazzled disbelief and especially Choi's hilariously annoyed villain. There isn't a single moment when we doubt how this will end, but in the absence of any genuine suspense Besson makes sure that we are entertained to within an inch of our lives. Scenes are packed with deliberately comical touches, from snappy dialogue to running gags and spurious details. And it's such brilliantly staged nonsense that we just sit back and hold on for the ride.
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 25th July 2014
Box Office USA: $126.5M
Box Office Worldwide: $434.1M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Ciné+, TF1 Films Production, EuropaCorp, Canal+
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 128 Rotten: 66
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Luc Besson
Producer: Virginie Silla
Screenwriter: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson as Lucy, Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman, Choi Min-sik as Mr. Jang, Amr Waked as Pierre Del Rio, Julian Rhind-Tutt as The Limey, Pilou Asbæk as Richard, Analeigh Tipton as Caroline, Nicolas Phongpheth as Jii, Jan Oliver Schroeder as German Mule, Luca Angeletti as Italian Mule
Also starring: Luc Besson
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