Those science fiction fans wishing to get a break from the repeated bang over the head giant robots or comic book super heroes that have the same villains may want to invest 90 minutes in Luc Besson’s latest offering. The premise is a simple one and – if memory serves – one repeatedly used in sci-fi novels going back to the 1950’s when the idea was first proposed. To his credit, Besson is at home with the sci-fi genre. “The Fifth Element” is popular among sci-fi enthusiasts as a classic. Besson isn’t afraid of interweaving violence into his plots as well with such offerings as “Leon” the story of a professional hitman and “Taken” another action movie that showcases Liam Neeson shooting his way across Europe.

The plot is simple – take a drug and expand your mind. We saw this most recently in “Limitless” with two outstanding actors taking the lead roles. A rather male-dominated film with lots of testosterone being flexed, “Limitless” has a similar message: “If we could only use more than 10% of our brain…” Here, writer/director Besson gives a female heroine capable of just about anything once she undergoes the drug transformation (just as Bradley Cooper’s character did in “Limitless”). Counter to the Taiwan terror of being an implanted carrier of drugs, we have the plot of professorial Morgan Freeman as Sam Norman. He contends that if we only had access to more parts of the mind, there isn’t anything we couldn’t do (excuse the double negative).

The camera opens in Stanley Kubrick fashion (the dawn of man) with a very realistic CGI early humanoid. In this case, the Leaky discovery from Africa known as Lucy. She is aware that in addition to the abundance in her world, she lives life on the edge having to deal with predators such as a cheetah. The parallels are drawn between the first humans and Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) in Taiwan, trapped into dealing with a drug kingpin who kidnaps and then forces people into carrying his drugs inside their bodies to other countries. Choi Min-sik plays a good villainous Kang in counter to the whimpering Lucy during the film’s opening scenes. Johansson’s level of acting is so convincing to this viewer that they help me forget the many leaps of logic Besson asks us to take in spelling out his Sam Norman theories given during a parallel cut scene. While Norman is explaining to his colleagues his theories about access to the brain, Lucy is struggling with a new incision on her abdomen. When she rebels, one of her jailers kicks her in the stomach and punctures the bag of drugs. The “experimental” drug flows into her body. Hence, the transformation that allows the special effects artists to make us believe she now has access to her brain and that will affect the world around her.

Being a science fiction reader and writer, I can tell you that sometimes your reader or viewers will accept your hypothesis and other times they will challenge the science if you stretch your point to incredulity. Besson takes “Limitless” one step further and indicates as humans we’d be able to bend the electromagnetic spectrum to our will. While it is a noble thought and one “devotedly to be wished,” the practical scientific side of my nature says a resounding, “No!” Still, the film is well made – the action scenes are exciting though repetitious, the dialogue is crisp but familiar and the outcome predictable to most readers of sci-fi. I found it a refreshing change from seeing super creatures flying through the air, defying gravity and dodging bullets or explosions. Besson’s tale of drugs to mind to conquering the universe is a card hand played after the participants have already ended the game and realized it is time to move on.

Recommended for some touching scenes by Johansson and a gritty Choi Min-sik; some decent action and no brainer plot. Otherwise, it goes into the category – I’ll add it to my sci-fi DVD collection to look at certain scenes later.