- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 7, 2015

Famed “Fifth Element” director Luc Besson offered movie audiences a mind-expanding, sci-fi film last August.

With a plot based around a theory relegated to the urban myth that a human only uses 10 percent of his brain potential, Lucy (Universal Home Entertainment, rated R, $34.98, now available in the Blu-ray format) was a box-office hit with help from its star Scarlett Johansson.

Viewers quickly learn about a normal girl studying in Taiwan who is forced to become a drug mule for Korean mobsters due to an idiotic boyfriend.

After she accidently absorbs the drug, hidden in a pouch in her abdominal cavity, the result causes a transformation of god-like proportions.

Her quest now involves finding more of the drug to unleash 100-percent brain capacity, keeping those mobsters away from her and sharing her expanded knowledge of the universe with a compassionate researcher, played authoritatively by Morgan Freeman.

For those willing to embrace the premise, they end up a with fast-paced film that flirts with the joys of the first “Matrix” movie but clocks in at only 89 minutes, just long enough to appreciate a medium-sized bag of popcorn.

As Lucy, I have to believe that Miss Johansson found herself emotionally strangled by her character.

As the movie plays out, the more brain capacity used by Lucy, the more stoic and apathetic to humanity she becomes, robbing us of the actress’ charismatic talents.

By the time she starts to hit the 40-percent mark, she is on par with a detached version of Jean Grey from the “X-Men” (loaded with a variety of telekinetic powers) and now we end up with an robotic being, more super-powered than human.

Of course, Mr. Besson relies on that evolution to deliver some heavy-duty action scenes including a wild car chase in the streets of Paris and mind-boggling special effects during her encounter with the Korean mobsters in a hospital to keep the film fun.

If you can buy into the debunked scientific theory, the movie’s main disappointment is still its brevity. Hopefully, Mr. Besson can use some extra brain power to figure out a way to bring Lucy back for another adventure.

Best extras: This weak selection of bonus content only includes a 16-minute long marketing featurette “The Evolution of Lucy” and a 10-minute discussion on its baseless scientific premise called “Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of Lucy.”

Seems if Mr. Besson believed as passionately in the “10 percent” theory as he claims in the onscreen interviews, Universal could have invested in a much longer documentary, covering both sides of the issue and taking a deeper look at the brain, clearly one of the most powerful and mysterious organs in the body.

Read all about it: Universal released an online motion comic (https://www.lucymovie.com/intl/uk/graphicnovel/20/) offering some key scenes from the film based on Lucy’s abilities. Devoid of words, it’s basically a beautifully illustrated, slightly animated (triggered by scrolling down the Web page) storyboard but worth appreciating.

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