Released this week: LUCY

There’s no denying Scarlett Johansson’s worldwide appeal as a movie star, even though I sometimes feel that her popularity derives from her looks rather than her talent as an actor. I’m not saying she isn’t a good actress, because I thought she was excellent in “Lost in Translation” (2003), and let’s not forget she starred in one of the Coen Brothers’ best films, “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2001). Most recently, she excelled in Jonathan Glazer’s amazing “Under the Skin” (2013), but that was a micro-budget film unlikely to have been seen by the masses. Despite carrying that movie, I still never consider Johansson to be a bona fide leading lady. However, that might be about to change as she takes centre stage in Luc Beeson’s newest action film, “Lucy.”

The film’s synopsis makes the film sound like a prequel to the “X-Men” movies, with its website telling us that Lucy is “a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.” Johansson plays the title character, while Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman and Korea’s very own Choi Min-sik plays drug lord Mr. Jang. From the frenetic first trailer, it appears that not only does Lucy gain a superior intellect, she also has some kind of telekinetic ability, meaning she can bat enemies away with a single flick of her finger.

It looks like a very interesting prospect, and it’s excellent to finally see a new action film with a female lead, which I consider to be a bit of a big deal. If you think otherwise, I would ask you “how many female-led action films you can name off the top of your head?” “Salt” (2010)? “Haywire” (2011), perhaps? The real answer is “not enough.” The days of Cynthia Rothrock kicking ass are long gone. “Cynthia who?” I hear you cry. Exactly.

Even though Johansson kicks arse as the Black Widow in “The Avengers” (2012) , there’s no denying that her character is little more than a supporting character. Here’s hoping “Lucy” is the start of a new chapter as a leading lady for Scarlett Johansson because, as “Under the Skin” proved, she certainly has the talent.

Categories: Previews

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