Not all superheroes hitting the big screen this summer were born on the comic book page; at the end of July, for instance, Brett Ratner’s Hercules and Luc Besson’s Lucy are headlined by, respectively, Dwayne Johnson and Scarlett Johansson as the hero of Greek mythology (okay, one based on a contemporary graphic novel treatment of the iconic character) and the latest femme warrior by the creator of The Fifth Element and La Femme Nikita.
The latter gains her superhuman abilities after she is drugged, kidnapped by shady types, and forced to become a drug mule, only to wind up inadvertently absorbing the strange chemical that’s been surgically implanted into her stomach. From there, she essentially becomes Mystique (minus the blue skin) crossed with Bradley Cooper from Limitless – with a little bit of Professor X’s reality-altering capabilities, judging by the latest promo for the film.
As was true with previously-unveiled Lucy trailers, the newly-released extended TV spot – mostly recycled footage from past previews, but there’s also some fresh material included – indicates that Besson’s original screenplay makes use of dubious fictional science based around the idea of humans using a limited percentage of their brain’s capacity, as the mechanism responsible for putting Lucy’s empowerment (here, “empowerment” has multiple meanings) journey into motion. It’s a bit of a goofy metaphor, sure, but maybe an appropriate one for Besson’s comic book movie-esque thriller.
Besson’s new film is also the rare R-Rated action vehicle arriving this summer, having earned its rating for “strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.” That’s not so unusual for a film with Besson as the helmsman; his last two directorial features, The Family and The Lady, were also graded “R” by the MPAA. Nonetheless, it does mark a change of pace from the usual PG-13 summer action offerings – not to mention, the batch of Euro-thrillers co-scripted and produced through Besson’s EuropaCorp in recent years (see: Taken 2, 3 Days to Kill, Brick Mansions, etc.).
If, for whatever reason, the “Scarlett Johansson gains super-powers” premise and promise of more adult content isn’t enough to maintain your interest for now, then there’s also the film’s supporting cast to consider – an eclectic, but quite talented crew that includes such folk as Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman (The LEGO Movie), Analeigh Tipton (Warm Bodies), Min-sik Choi (Oldboy (2003), I Saw the Devil), and Amr Waked (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen).
Lucy opens in U.S. theaters on July 25th, 2014.