On paper, Project Power should have been a risky film to make. A futuristic drug has been secretly developed and distributed across the streets of New Orleans which gives people superpowers for just five minutes. The catch? There’s no telling what power you will get. Ranging from Marvel’s The Human Torch-like flaming skin, to literally exploding into nothing, giving the film an exciting array of abilities to watch unfold throughout the two-hour Netflix thrill.
Enter Robin (played by Dominique Fishback), a teenage girl from the streets of New Orleans who sells the superpower drug to make ends meet.
First and foremost, Fishback is exceptional as Robin. While the character itself has control of a number of her scenes, she does have a unique, emotional edge to her which fans will enjoy watching occur throughout the film.
When Robin’s cousin is killed, she gets wrapped up in a devastating plot which is sure to put everybody she knows in danger.
Thankfully, she is backed up by a couple of do-gooders – Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a New Orleans police officer, and Art (Jamie Foxx), a mysterious drifter who goes by the name Major.
In certain terms, Frank is perhaps a lawfully chaotic character, who is struggling to do the right thing with every turn.
However, when the bad guys of the streets start displaying superpowers, he finds himself forced to use his own to level the playing field.
Gordon-Levitt is making a triumphant return to the screen as Frank.
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The young actor is fantastic as Frank, and puts on a few different hats throughout his performance; including some unbridled rage, as well as some more tender moments.
While Frank’s scenes are absolutely enjoyable, his arc seems to be the least developed.
Throughout the film viewers will notice him simply arrive when and where he is needed, much to the pleasure of the rest of the cast.
It is certainly enjoyable seeing Gordon-Levitt do his thing again, however I almost wish it would have been in a more meatier role.
Meanwhile a lot can be said about Art’s incredible arc, but considering most of the story is based around his narrative, it’s best to perhaps skirt around the details.
Jamie Foxx delivers a pretty good performance, though. The heart of the movie lies with Art and his extensive, emotional backstory that will surely emit some emotion from viewers towards the end.
Art displays a grizzled, dry humour which mostly lands, and is no doubt helped by Foxx’s natural comedy chops.
The contextual comedy between Robin and Frank is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the dialogue.
Despite various references to them, the Batman and Robin analogy works best, as the pair have a weird buddy-cop energy that is really fun to watch.
Even more weird, the film itself has an exceptional display of visual effects.
The six-or-so powers displayed within the film are all hugely different from one another, and stand out in a crowd.
It’s genuinely exciting seeing people take a pill and waiting to see what kind of reaction their body has – it’s an odd thrill, but one that perhaps couldn’t be explored further in a sequel or spin-off.
Project Power is the next step in Netflix’s B-movie cinema. The story is predictable, and a little dull towards the end – but the cast and the dialogue make up for this. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jamie Foxx are brilliant, but Robin actor Dominique Fishback is perhaps the most enjoyable character to watch. Without a doubt, though, the most fun part of the film is watching all of the different superpowers jump out of the screen in a truly impressive display of visual effects. Fans of superheroes and comic book-like media will lap this film up, but regular moviegoers may find themselves left struggling to deal with its constant display of tropes and cliches.
Project Power is available on Netflix now.