Project Power: An Insomniac Review

Project Power is the latest, most trending flick offered on Netflix now. So I decided to give it a watch. It stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback. The story entails a mysterious pill that grants its user 5 minutes of powers. The powers, which randomly depend on who ingests it are the results of government testing and splicing of various animal DNA to create the super soldier.

After this mysterious pill shows up on the streets of New Orleans, Detective Frank, played by Gordon-Levitt and a teenage drug dealer played by Fishback team up with ex-soldier Art played by Foxx to take down the powers that be. Although Det. Frank seeks to clean up the streets of NOLA, Art has his own vendetta of getting his daughter back from those responsible for putting the drug out there in the first place.

Although the movie tries to make his motives unclear by claiming he’s some random cartel member hunting down each drug boss level by level… you clearly know that he’s a good guy from the rip.

Project Power is not anything new as far as plot goes but it pulls no punches when jumping into the plot, even when it sacrifices the majority of it. It tends to be witty and fun as well as full of action but can come off a bit rushed at moments.

Some of the characters are wasted such as Courtney B. Vance who plays the police chief and Levitt’s boss. I wish I could have seen more of him on screen especially his motivations behind his choices. It would have been interesting to see how their stories intertwined but we don’t any of that.

I mean Vance’s scene is pretty much a blink and you’ll miss and it… Not to mention a missed opportunity for his talents. Much like most of the supporting cast, he’s rather forgettable.

However, the story goes on without much exposition. Jamie Foxx’s Art comes in and starts wrecking shit without warning. In no time we see the drug hit the street out of nowhere and before long we see samples of the short-termed effects of the drugs. Yet it’s here the storytelling gives me the feeling that something more should be going on. I mean I had more questions than answers by the end credits.

The acting is ok in the movie but Jamie Foxx carries the flick. I originally thought it would be a hero flick like Push. And often it feels like it tries to be Amazing Spider-Man (the one with Andrew Garfield). The power surges after one takes the pills are cool and while it doesn’t rely on this premise alone, I don’t feel that it pushes the true depths of how deadly or awesome they can be. Each superpower is rather glazed by quickly. Nonetheless, it doesn’t entirely unfold poorly… it’s just the pacing that feels quick and so much else tends to be happening at once. Each time we see the powers it’s quick and not much to make you say WOW!

Honestly, I think that this movie would have been better as a pilot to a web series. I mean it wasn’t blah, it just felt patched together and unfinished.

The only time you really see and feel how fucked up this drug is when Machine Gun Kelly takes it and turns into something like The Human Torch except most of his face is melted off when you see him a second time around.

The effects behind his transformation are really awesome but its the only time I was blown away… No pun intended.

However, there is the end fight scene…which is expected after Jamie Foxx foreshadows the defense mechanism of a pistol shrimp (no spoilers here you just have to see hold out its >2 hour run time). Sadly despite that much movie time, I felt jipped and I’m glad that I hadn’t paid to see it in theaters.

Project Power’s biggest saving grace is the fact that our world is still shut down and with it most of the movie theaters here in the US. Now it’s not a bad movie but it’s not great either. Although I rather enjoyed it, a lot of what you see isn’t new and again it comes together just as ok with an unsurprisingly predictable ending.

I did enjoy the creator’s attempt at taking the superpower genre in another direction apart from what Marvel and DC have been dishing out these last few years. Yet again, unlike those films, I think Project Power rushes itself into its climax and third act by trying borrow elements from them all instead of relying on its own promising plot.

Gordon-Levitt is a believable as a cop trying to save the city much like he did in The Dark Knight but if you are looking to stream a superpower-worthy flick, I would suggest Code 8. Especially if you’re expecting to see a bunch of superpowered citizens beat the crap outta each other. Gordon-Levitt’s scenes aren’t bad nor are they forgettable because he does well with what he’s given.

Despite it, he’s not always as badass as Foxx who tends to dominate his moments on screen. That doesn’t mean he gets lost in the story.

Dominique Fishback is another protagonist who’s dragged into the mix. Her story as kid trying to save her mom with albeit bad choices is done ok. While her problems and choices feel undoubtedly real and believable, it’s the extra gritty realness combined with her vulnerabilities that try to pull you in.

Except the fact she is an aspiring rapper who skips school. That was my only gripe with her. Her character had so much more potential than this cliche black kid in the hood with dreams of being a rapper. With all everything she goes through, I felt that this part was a tad unnecessary. She’s smart and witty. While she makes mostly smart decisions that ultimately save the day, you also know she’s really just trying to survive and that she’s scared for her life at times without it making feel forced.

The villians in this flick are many things except memorable. Every henchman that we see our heroes take on were almost the coolest concepts but none of them stick out much. In fact even the big bad is a blur and I just finished watching it. No matter how good they were or should have been, they are dispatched quickly… Even with their powers.

I couldn’t finger it but every time a big baddie had their chance to give our heroes a tough time, they simply didn’t.

Overall Project Power is a fairly decent film but it’s best left for Netflix streaming. If you want a superhero or antihero flick, you may want to keep scrolling for something a tad more fulfilling.

My vote:

2 & a half out of 4 thumbs up.

Until Next Time Kiddies,

Shalom

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