The Horror Honeys: ScarJo Kicks Ass & Old Boy is a Dick!

ScarJo Kicks Ass & Old Boy is a Dick!

A Sci-Fi/Revenge Honey Tandem Review!

Lucy (2014)
Sci-Fi Honey:  In the most recent episode of Honey Radio, which explored the best and worst science fiction films and television series of 2014, I confessed to something shocking: I’ve never been a huge fan of Scarlett Johansson.  She’s nice to look at and she’s been in some fantastic films for sure, but I was never of the opinion that those films were good because of her.  She’d been lucky, I thought, working with such an astounding array of filmmakers, from the Coen Brothers and Woody Allen to Christopher Nolan and Brian DePalma.  Beginning in 2012, when she appeared as Black Widow in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, something changed.  

Suddenly, this girl was on a career trajectory headed for sci-fi stardom; in Her (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Under the Skin (2014) and now Lucy (2014), ScarJo began collaborating with uniquely imaginative film auteurs taking on edgy and ingenious sci-fi material.  In 2015 she will reprise her role as Black Widow in the next Avengers film, and even has her own solo Black Widow film slated for the foreseeable future.  I’m beginning to wonder if ScarJo has found her niche.  For genre fans longing for the glory days of adept and intelligent female heroines along the lines of Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Trinity or Alice… is our contemporary sci-fi salvation in Lucy?

The answer is… maybe.  We don’t learn too much about Lucy at the beginning of Luc Besson’s acid trip of an action film, only that she’s clearly romantically involved with Mr. Very Wrong.  A series of luckless events finds her waking up in a hotel room, a scar on her belly, with a package of what looks like Heisenberg’s meth tucked inside – a new drug, we learn, that Oldboy’s Min-Sik Choi is eager to market as the new tweaker trend on the streets of Europe.  When the package ruptures and leaks inside her, Lucy is afflicted with the ability to gradually access and manipulate a higher percentage of her brain function than most human beings are capable of (around 10% for us average lamebrains).  As Lucy gains more and more agency over her condition, she seeks out the help of mind guru Morgan Freeman to help her understand and document what’s happening to her.  With Choi and his crew on her tail, Lucy uses her newfound skills to gain a considerable advantage over her adversaries - like Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless, but with approximately 78% more kickassery.

Pictured: A woman who could beat the shit out of Bradley Cooper. 
Lucy is a victim-turned-hero, and it’s because of her taking ownership of her mental superpower that we can admire her courage, tenacity, and quest to both harness her knowledge and share it with the world.  Besson packs this journey into a very abbreviated 89-minute runtime, bursting with the bold visuals of his earlier work The Fifth Element paired with the frenetic energy of Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run.  It’s punchy from the get-go and never boring, even when Freeman is orating at a neuroscience symposium or Lucy stops to make a heart-tugging phone call to her mother.  The bizarre nature of the film’s final sequences, as well, make sense in the scope of the film’s overarching message; as Neil Degrasse Tyson once said, “we are in the universe and the universe is in us.”  Lucy is a whole galaxy, encapsulated inside a ScarJo-shaped brain.  The film is as fierce as it is poetic.

This probably wasn't what Lionel Richie had in mind.
Sci-Fi Honey Rating: I give this film about 80% of my mental capability, which is quite a lot, considering I use most of it for useless movie quotes.  And to that end, when are films like Lucy and Limitless going to stop perpetuating the Hollywood myth that we only use 10% of our brains? As Head Honey Kat says, “if Morgan Freeman says it, it must be true.” Indeed, Mr. Freeman has a way of taking even the most baseless and unbelievable hypotheses and turning them, with enough careful narration, into scientific fact.

Lucy is primarily a jaunt into mad-Besson sci-fi territory, but there is a revenge component to the story and more to the character worth looking into.  Let’s see what Revenge Honey thought of this mind-melter of a film… 

If Lucy saw inside me, she'd see Lucky Charms, mead, & snark.
Revenge Honey: Unlike our darling Sci-Fi Honey, I am a card-carrying ScarJo fangirl. I'd show you the card, but it's currently at Kinkos getting laminated. I've always believed she was destined for more lofty roles than playing the unattainable object of some drooling horndog's misplaced affection (I've still never seen He's Just Not That In To You and I never will because fuck that movie and the misogynist horse it rode in on). Her role as Black Widow was just the first step in her transformation to sci-fi goddess. Lucy may not be the apex of that journey, but it's damn close.

That's not the matrix. IT'S HER BRAIN! HER BRAAAIN!
I won't go over plot details again because Katie did that beautifully. But outside of its place as a spectacularly beautiful sci-fi film, Lucy is also one of the best revenge films I've seen in theaters this summer. After Scarlett Johansson's Lucy gains her super-human abilities from acting as a next-gen drug mule, she makes it her mission to end the reign Min-Sik Choi's Mr. Jang (a revenge film superstar in his own right). I loved watching Lucy kick the proverbial ass of every drug-running scumbag that got in her way, but more than that, I loved that there wasn't a single man on Earth that was her equal: physically or mentally. She kept a French detective at her side simply to remind her what it was like to be human, a sentiment that was strangely beautiful. 

It has to be said that Johansson has made the brilliant decision to align herself with two of the most female-centric writer/directors working in mainstream Hollywood right now: Joss Whedon and Luc Besson. Both don't just love crafting films around strong women, but they're brilliant at writing starring vehicles for them as well. Besson, specifically, knows how to write a woman that is extraordinarily self-sufficient and brave. Who can forget this moment in The Fifth Element between LeeLoo (Milla Jovovich) and Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis):


Lucy may not be perfect. The science behind it may be questionable and it may lack enough back story to truly connect us to the heroine, but in the end, Lucy is exactly the kind of science fiction super hero we need right now... One that brings women to the theaters in droves and continues to prove that a badass woman CAN carry a movie. Especially when she kicks Hercules's ass on opening weekend.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 and 1/2 Bags of CPH4 out of 4