Scarlett Johansson used to be just like you. We all believe that, right? According to this international trailer for her new action thriller Lucy, it wasn’t being born really ridiculously good looking or landing starring roles in big time blockbuster franchises that set her apart. No, it was that time she was used as an unwitting drug mule but the package she was transporting ruptured and gave her superpowers. Lucy is a documentary, right?
Perhaps I was wrong about that documentary part, but that’s definitely the basic plot to the latest offering from French action auteur Luc Besson. If you’re familiar with his work, you’re sure to notice shades of The Fifth Element here. And to us this still looks like that film had a baby with Neil Burger’s Limitless. Lucy shares the plot point of a fancy new drug that unlocks the full potential of the human mind. This is, of course, based on the widely believed myth that humans only use 10 percent of their brain. If you can get past that oversight, which admittedly may require you to shut down part of your own brain, this looks like it could be a passably solid sci-fi actioner.
From this trailer it seems that the increase in Lucy’s (Johansson) powers starts off gradually. Initially she starts kicking ass more efficiently than she could before and this has the appearance of a suped-up action flick. As the story progresses, so do her abilities, until she can control just about everything. It’s when she can start seeing lights and electronic signals in the air around her that you start to worry that things are going to come off the rails. If this film is going to be successful—as a movie, not necessarily as a financial venture—the action is where it is going to have to triumph, and we’ll have to see whether Besson can still deliver the goods. One thing this trailer also does is downplay the brutal violence perpetrated on the heroine that we witnessed in the earlier footage. That creeped some people out.
One thing that Lucy does have going for it—and an element I desperately hope they don’t squander—is the presence of a man who plays one of best badass villains around: Choi Min-sik. The star of such grim revenge films as I Saw the Devil and Oldboy is a criminally underused commodity internationally. He’s continued to churn out quality films in his native Korea, like 2013’s New World, but doesn’t have the wider recognition that he should have acquired by now.
Johansson can currently be seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, and Lucy opens wide August 8.