6. But back to Lucy. Upstairs she meets Jang, who is the kind of businessman who brutally murders people while wearing a $10,000 suit, and then rinses the gore off his hands with Evian. (He’s played by South Korean actor Choi Min-sik, of Oldboy fame.) Jang speaks no English, nor do any of the many flunkies attending him, which seems odd for a big-time Taipei businessman. So he calls an interpreter on the phone in order to communicate with Lucy. He then has her open the case, which contains a crystalline blue powder. His goons wheel in a junkie to test the stuff. After one snort, the junkie starts giggling wildly and they shoot him. Then Jang offers Lucy a “job,” she says no, and one of the goons punches her in the face.
7. It’s around this time that we’re introduced to our secondary star, Morgan Freeman, brought in with the obvious (though wildly unsuccessful) mission of lending scientific and philosophical gravitas to the proceedings. Freeman plays a renowned neuroscientist, “Professor Norman” (no first name necessary), who is delivering a lecture to a packed crowd of well-heeled attendees. He explains that most species use only 3-5 percent of their “cerebral capacity,” that human beings use 10 percent—a complete falsehood, incidentally—and that dolphins use 20 percent. (So long, and thanks for all the fish!) He goes so far as to suggest that if we used more of our own brainpower, we’d be able to echolocate too, though he’s mum on the question of whether this would require us to wander around clicking all the time.
8. In addition to offering a variety of silly, daily-calendar-level bromides, Professor Norman makes the point that, when endangered, species focus on self-preservation, but when circumstances are safe, they focus on reproduction. This is an excuse for the second (and last) phase of the wildlife footage, in which we have an opportunity to watch a variety of creatures (rhinoceroses, tropical frogs) humping. I have no doubt that there is a fetish community devoted to such fare, but I suspect it requires a more rarefied taste than that of the average summer moviegoer.
9. Back to Lucy. When she awakes from her punch to the face, she’s taken to a fancy high-rise office suite, offered a drink in a cut-crystal glass, and told she’s had a minor surgery to implant a packet of that blue-powdery drug, called CPH4, in her abdomen. She and a trio of other mules are to smuggle the drugs back to their home countries, where they’ll be retrieved by Jang’s men.
9a. A side note: When told about her unwanted surgery, Lucy replies “I don’t care about the scar.” Attentive viewers may recall that Johansson made light of a nearly identical injury/blemish in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Is this a thing now? Is 2014 the year of the Scar-Jo abdominal scar?
10. Lucy is inexplicably taken to a cell that is as dingy as the office suite was opulent. There, a guard sexually harasses her and then kicks her in the stomach exactly where the packet of drugs is stashed. You’d think that a massively well-financed international drug cartel would remember to tell its heavies not to do this. The drug seeps into her system, and onscreen text shows us that she has now hit 20 percent of her cerebral capacity. Alas, she does not start echolocating. Instead, she immediately begins to levitate. (Take that, dolphins!)