On the morning before I saw this film I received an image on my Facebook newsfeed. It was of Gaza. An old Arab man, wailing in despair, was holding something aloft for the camera to capture – for the world to see.
It was the corpse of a child, charred black from an explosion. Her legs had been blown off. It reminded me of the photograph of that little Vietnamese girl running naked from her village – terrified and uncomprehending – after it had been scorched and obliterated by napalm.
Tears welled in my eyes. When will it ever end?
A few hours later, sitting joyless and bored beyond salvation among an audience that cheerily guzzled jumbo Cokes and stuffed their faces with popcorn as Scarlett Johansson ever so sexily blasted the brains and guts out of the bad guys in yet another sci-fi blockbuster, I could not help but wonder … what has caused the disconnect between the reality of carnage and the mindless consumption of it as entertainment?
Scarlett plays Lucy (she’s back to being a blonde) who, after an abduction scene that involves a display of panting and whimpering that is embarrassing even by amateur theatre standards, is forced to be a drug mule for a really nasty Oriental crook.
The contraband chemical (it resembles the blue meth that Jessie and Walt manufactured in Breaking Bad) turns her into a super-powered, omnipotent, time-travelling, god-like hornbag.
Morgan Freeman is in the mix doing his usual wise-old-codger thing and Amr Waked, as the tough detective, is a sort of French Jason Statham (you can’t go wrong with a stubbled stereotype).
There is probably meant to be a reference in the title to the Beatles’ classic song from Sgt Pepper’s, but if that is the case it’s only a desperate act of self-glorification.
As for director Luc Besson’s pretentiousness and insistence on tarting up psycho-babble as profundity, his lamentable movie is in the same league as Terrence Malick’s risible The Tree of Life.
~ John Campbell