Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx, Dominique Fishback, Rodrigo Santoro and Colson Baker.
Run time: 1h 51min
Imagine there’s a pill that could give you a super-power for five minutes when swallowed. That power is unique to each user and you have no way of knowing what it will be, until you try it. It might be invisibility, sonic-speed, bulletproof skin or ice manipulation, just like Elsa from Frozen. Alternatively, you might have a more explosive reaction. Literally. You might explode. Yep, there’s the rub.
In New Orleans, the pill is going down a treat amongst the thrill seeking low-lifes of the backstreets, meaning crime is on the rise. Maverick cop Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teams up with a teenage dealer (Dominique Fishback) to track and take down the company behind its creation, Teleios. Meanwhile, an ex-soldier (Jamie Foxx) with a mysterious past and a hidden agenda is also hunting Teleios. Driven by revenge, he’ll stop at nothing to find what he’s looking for.
Although it’s a fantastic idea and an exciting premise, Project Power is rather average in its execution. The appeal here is seeing a variety of powers and abilities, but we only see snippets from a selection of them. The last thirty minutes showcases more of them as events reach a conclusion, but this frenetic energy needed to be spread throughout the rest of the film. A lot of powers have been borrowed from various Marvel and DC heroes, which I suppose was to be expected. Human Torch, Wolverine, Hulk and even Plastic Man are all present, albeit in slightly different forms, but it would have been refreshing to have seen more original ideas.
Dominique Fishback is the standout performance showing a streetwise attitude that hides her schoolgirl vulnerability as she deals her drugs in order to deal with her mother’s illness. Jamie Foxx displays his skills as an action-hero with his usual style and menace, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character is one-dimensional and spouts all the usual cop clichés about New Orleans being “his city” and the like.
There are some humorous moments scattered about although the overall tone takes itself too seriously. It’s a solid spin on the superhero story with some decent set-pieces, but nothing to make it stand out. Project Power is just like the results from the pills it pushes; fun for a few minutes until the novelty wears off.
Project Power drops onto Netflix from Friday August 14th.