Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Luc Besson
Main Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Min-Sik Choi, Morgan Freeman
Coming to screens soon is Luc Besson’s Lucy, probably one of the most exciting films he has been involved with in awhile. Besson of course coming off a bad year with The Family, would like to come back with a success. It’s about time we get a film with a little something different, of course with the surge of superhero movies over the past few years this may become a big hit as Scarjo AKA Black Widow is boasting some badass brain super powers. It’s about time Scarlett Johansson started pursuing action films as we’ve seen her reprise her role as Black Widow three times now brilliantly, and Lucy looks like the perfect film to legitimately cement her as an action star. The trailer doesn’t really reveal anything unique in its premise, as it simply seems like a revenge flick, but when do revenge flicks ever get boring; I mean we have Oldboy’s Min-Sik Choi cast as the bad guy, who is known for having a particular set of skills with a hammer. What makes this film intriguing though is the drug and its effects on Scarlett Johansson’s character, it obviously increases brain power significantly as Morgan Freeman explains, but the abilities that Johansson develops influences a whole bag of baddassary. Ultimately we know to expect some great visuals and action sequences, but in terms of story we’re not really given much to know confidently what direction Lucy’s journey for justice will take her.
Following the attack on Chicago, there is a sense of bitterness towards the transformers. Unknown to the public, Decepticons and Autobots are being hunted down and killed for their scraps, sanctioned by corrupt CIA operatives. Of all places, Cade Yeager finds a torn up truck in an abandoned cinema hoping to sell the parts for enough cash to put his daughter through college. When he discovers that it isn’t your average truck, his life takes a turn for the worst.
Now I’ve never been a hater of the Transformer franchise or ever boarded the “down with Michael Bay” bandwagon, because I actually find his films fun and thoroughly entertaining, but this time around I’m finding it hard to defend the CGI addicted director. I’ll give him Transformers one as it was actually a pretty good action flick, and what made it so good was that element of mystery, for people who weren’t familiar with transformers or ever had a history with them, the first installment was perfect. We’re learning about who the transformers are and how significant their rivalry with the Decepticons is, and the bond they form with the humans adds an extra layer to the transformers that makes them admirable characters. But as the sequels increase the more shallow the franchise has become, and when we take a step back and think about the films together as a series, it’s evident that there’s no progression and it never intends to, instead there’s more of a desire to include as much CGI as possible, dress the girls down as eye candy and make a simple story over complicated. And that’s a shame as the characters are pretty badass. That being said I’m one of those people that totally fell for the plethora of explosions and destruction that was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Yes a lot of it was ridiculous, and there are moments that annoy me, but you can’t fault the entertainment value it offers and some of those action sequences are jaw dropping. Looking back you can tell that Bay took on the criticism from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and improved the franchise immensely, because that film achieved the complete opposite of what it intended to do. The story was bloated and the pacing was completely off, making for an overlong film that was ultimately boring despite the non stop action. Unfortunately Transformers: Age of Extinction does not move forward as Dark of the Moon did, but instead takes a huge step backwards.
Unsurprisingly this film is visually brilliant, there’s one thing Bay can do and that is make a great looking action film. The CGI is incredible and has come a long way since the first film of the series, you would honestly think that these robots were real if you were a kid watching for the first time. Of course if you’re looking for explosions, explosions and more explosions then this film will hit the spot perfectly; it would be hard to find a film that can top the amount of destruction that you’ll get in this. But If you’re looking for an action film with a coherent story and uncliched characters then this may be 2 hours and 37 minutes you’d rather save for another trip to the cinema.
There’s a reason I could tolerate Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and that was because I cared about the characters having spent two films getting to know them with the exception of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Just like Dark of the Moon missed Mikaela (Megan Fox), Age of Extinction missed Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf), just because followers of the franchise have already developed a relationship with the character and in addition that relationship between Witwicky and the Autobots. Mark Wahlberg is great in this film but in all honesty I didn’t care much for his character or the others, and that’s down to how cliched and cheesy they are. For the first time in a film, I actually disapproved of seeing a beautiful girl in short shorts, just because we’ve seen it so many times before in a Transformers film, why must it be a perquisite to have a gorgeous girl cast in these films. The good thing about Megan Fox and her character was that there was more too her than met the eye, she was a badass and had a legitimate reason to be involved with the transformers. Ultimately the characters are just bad, I mean the only reason I remember Shane (Jack Reynor) is because of his Irish accent.
Now the storytelling is pretty terrible, there are countless moments which could have easily been condensed and reduced the run time significantly, making for a less exhausting watch. The story alone is generic, haven’t we already had a government conspiracy plot line before. The most interesting thing about the film is the Transformers and their conflict between helping the humans or accepting they don’t want them there, and that’s where the tireless critique returns, make the transformers purely the heart of the films!
Despite the action being pretty well choreographed and executed, there’s so much of it that it really does suffocate you. The amount of shaky cam and low angle shots used within the long action sequences makes it so hard to concentrate on the screen. I had to look away and blink a few times just to make sure my eyes weren’t trying to wriggle their way out of their sockets. Admittedly I did enjoy the final action segment, just because it’s pretty hilarious and the urban warfare approach is totally my thing. I just wish they kept that same lighthearted tone from start to finish, because the worst parts of the film are when it tries too hard to be serious, and therefore sucking all the fun out of it.
Ultimately there’s no surprise towards how the film has turned out, we all know what to expect with Michael Bay films and especially when coming from the Transformers franchise. It may be time for a fresh face to take over and inject the imagination and inspired ideas that this film really missed. That being said if you’re in the mood for hardcore action to fry your brain then this will do the trick.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)