Lucy’s new boyfriend is trying to persuade her to deliver a briefcase for him. It’s a simple job and she’ll get well paid, he promises, after she weaseled out the fact that he is also getting paid for delivering these “papers”1. But she decides that this business is most likely illegal and wants nothing to do with it. Too bad, he handcuffs her2 to the case revealing the fact that he doesn’t have the key, only Mr Jang has the key. She’ll have to deliver it. And so she does, and gets caught up in a drug’s gang and is forced into the role of drug’s mule. But her drug’s package leaks inside her and suddenly she can use more of her brain than anyone else on earth.
Okay, so going into the film you need to accept that it is ridiculous. Utterly and completely round-the-twist nonsense. But just pretend “wizards did it” and everything will be fine. It makes Lucy and enjoyable action/sci-fi flick with some pretty good scenes. Okay, it all goes a little handwavey and pretentious towards the end, but at least we have a reason why the hero can survive all these gun battles. It’s more than we get in most action films. Sheer dumb luck might keep Stallone alive while’s he is battling various “bad-guys” who are, lets face it, usually not white. At least Lucy has her brain power to explain all that.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a good film. It’s pretty bad in parts. And it is certainly problematical with race and gender. Lucy is pretty much the only female character, and if you are Chinese you’re bound to be a gang member, potential rapist, or murderer. So do I let that go because this is an action film and pretty much every Hollywood action film is racist. And if you avoided everything that wasn’t racist would there be anything left to watch?
Not that is an excuse for the director/writer, Besson should have seen what he was doing with the whole history of all humankind being white, apart from the Native Americans that every so briefly show up, so I don’t think he can be given a pass. But the film itself? I’m not sure. I’m in two minds about it. There is a line that Lucy’s flatmate says to her “Who even speaks Chinese?” and they live in Taiwan. Is that a racist and ignorant line? Of course, but is the film giving us a clue about the person Lucy was before the drugs? Switched off, partying hard and using Taiwan as a place to “go wild”? Of is it just a lazy ass line in the film? I’m inclined to think that it is the second, unfortunately.
Before I finish up I have to mention the little cut scenes, of animals or space, or whatever. I actually really enjoyed them. Sure they were hitting you over the top of the head trying to tell you what the scenes meant “Lucy is prey, evil drug dealer is predator”, but I don’t know, I liked the style. Style and no substance though, it’d be great if the film world could get the two in the one film.
Other reviews: LadyBusiness