Friday 14 August 2020

Project Power (Movie Review)

Netflix continues to impress with its constant output of things to watch on its streaming platform. Granted, most of them are barely watchable cringefests like The Last Days of American Crime and 365 DNI. But for every 10 of those bottom-of-the-barrel offerings, there's at least that one piece of content that helps you justify your continued subscription to the service. And Project Power just happens to be the latest one of those.

The film is set in New Orleans, where a new drug called power has just started to make the rounds. Unlike other drugs, power grants its users superhuman abilities, but only for a span of 5 minutes. Another catch is the fact that you can't predict what powers you'd get after using it, and those powers could very much end up killing you in the process. So, yes, any sensible human being would do well to avoid it. But of course, not everyone can resist the temptation of unlocking their full potential.

This includes NOPD officer, Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who routinely uses the drug to help "level the playing field" against the numerous superpowered criminals they now have to face in the line of duty. And helping feed his growing addiction is his dealer, Robin (Dominique Fishback), a young girl that juggles high school and a sick mum with dreams of becoming a successful rapper. But after a mysterious figure named Art (Jamie Foxx) comes into town in pursuit of the ones responsible for the drug, they both get drawn into a conspiracy that is several levels above their pay grade.

As far as Netflix Originals go, Project Power is one of the better ones. The film boasts high production values, with its $85 million reported cost being evident throughout. The special effects were convincing, and a step above what you'd typically find in these types of movies. It also offers a somewhat unique take on the superhero mythos, depicting a darker side of superpowers we hardly ever get to see outside of shows like The Boys.

It's three stars also gave decent performances. Both Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt bring their years of Hollywood experience into the mix, but it was actually Dominique Fishback who I considered the standout of the three. She was funny and expressive, and had most of the more memorable lines and moments in the movie. I look forward to seeing her in more roles in the future.

That said, the movie does have its share of problems. Its story, while intriguing, barely scratches the surface of what could've been done with such a high-concept premise. It also requires some suspension of disbelief for it to truly work, especially during its third act where our three heroes go against an entire criminal organization. The film is as well populated by several stereotypes, and isn't without a few cringe-inducing lines of dialog as a result.

But all things considered, Project Power is yet another fun diversion for movie lovers waiting for cinemas to reopen. And with TENET now firmly set for an August 26th international debut, things are looking up indeed.


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