Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



I scanned several reviews of this film, and there was quite a consensus: It’s fun to look at, and it gets pretty stupid toward the end. I would have to agree. It’s based on that hoary old bit of misinformation that “everybody knows,” that humans only use 10% of our brains. Pure bullshit. So right off the bat we’re dealing with bad science. But heck, that can be okay, just accept the premise and roll with it.

Which I did, for about two-thirds of the movie. Scarlett Johansson is in Taiwan, and her boyfriend forces her to deliver a briefcase to a Korean mobster in a fancy hotel. Before she even leaves the front desk the boyfriend is gunned down, and she is taken before the bad guy, where very bad things happen. Scarlett does a terrific job of looking scared totally shitless. Then she and three men are operated on, bags of some new drug sewn into their bellies. But a henchman, preparing to rape her in the cell where she is being kept, kicks her in the belly. The bag ruptures, and the drug starts to go to work on her brain. Suddenly she is able to use 20% of her brain, and becomes a totally ruthless killer. She breaks out, her senses and reflexes so sharp now that she kills four men with four bullets before they can even rise out of their chairs.

This stuff is tons of fun, particularly when she nails the drug lord’s hands to the arms of his chair with two knives. Then some of the silliness starts to seep in. She leaves the asshole alive. Why? Only reason I can see is so she can kill him in the climactic battle scene we all knew was coming. At 30% her mind expands even more, ditto at 40% and up. The higher we go the more powers she attains, until the utterly ridiculous climax.

It all looks great, but in a story where someone can do anything, most of the tension is gone. That was always my problem with Superman. Aside from the small Achilles heel of kryptonite in its various forms, ol’ Supe was invulnerable. Boring! The main pleasures here are the scenes where she kicks serious ass with her mental magic tricks. The saddest stuff involves poor old Morgan Freeman, who has nothing at all to do except explain stuff to us in big expository lumps. Ever since the guy played God, he seems to get these sort of roles. He’s too good an actor for that.