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Project Power - Netflix Movie Review

Updated: 3 days ago

I enjoyed this film because it’s almost everyone’s secret dream. Take a pill and get superpowers? Come on, who wouldn’t love that? (Although the pill I would take would be a COVID immunity pill). After watching “Project Power”, it made me think of X-Men and Limitless combined into one big potluck.

If you are a fan of sci-fi, mutant fiction, or anything involving superpowers, then I think it would be a good film to watch.

The Power Pill in Project Power Netflix Movie
Project Power - The Power Pill

Cast of Project Power

Art played by Jamie Foxx

Frank played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Robin played by Dominique Fishback

Biggie played by Rodrigo Santoro

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Frank Shaver in Project Power Netflix Movie
Bulletproof Superpower

Plot of Project Power

The film is about a new pill, called Power, that grants the user unpredictable superpowers that last only 5 minutes. It is set in the present-day city of New Orleans. Robin, played by Dominique Fishback, is a young drug dealer who supplies Frank, a New Orleans Police Detective, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Frank uses the pill to help him during his beat while scouring the shady streets of New Orleans searching for a man called Major.

Major is a retired Army Ranger named Art, played by none other than Jamie Foxx.

Robin gets in the cross-hairs of Art, who is relentlessly searching for a man named Biggie, played by Rodrigo Santoro, to gain information on the location of his daughter, Tracy, who was taken from him. Biggie is the one responsible for bringing the drug to the city of New Orleans, but he’s not the head of the snake.

Jamie Foxx as Art in THe Netflix Movie Project Power
Plasma Generation Superpower

What’s good

There are aspects of this film that I liked and disliked. Let’s start with the positive first because I’m not a negative Nancy. This film had a decent amount of action, the atmosphere was ideal, and it had positive character developments amongst other things.

Now, the bad. Even though I enjoyed this film, it was consistent with most modern-age superhuman movies of its genre; meaning it was predictable.

There were also times during the movie I had trouble keeping up with its plot. It would show a scene and then jump to an entirely different scene that made little to no sense. I know some filmmakers do this to show the passage of time, or to move the story forward, but in this instance, it was poorly done.

Camouflage Superpower in Project Power Netflix Movie
Camouflage Superpower

The action...ah sweet action. This film wasn’t over the top and had a more realistic vibe when it came to the action. Don’t get me wrong, special effects are good and they can make some action look dope, but to accurately depict the mood of the film, the action needed to be subtle and realistic; which I believe it did.

When I think about action though, I’m instantly reminded about the superpowers. The superpowers special effects looked pretty realistic, not like other movies of this same genre. The fight scenes were decent but could have been better. For the most part, the film had pretty decent action. It makes a movie so much more enjoyable.

Pyrokinesis Superpower in Project Power Netflix Movie
Pyrokinesis Superpower

I like the fact that all the powers used in this movie correspond to Johnny Storm, Frozone, and even the Thing. These are done as a loving homage to the original characters while ever so gently poking fun at the franchise that supports them.

Such good-natured ribbing is accompanied by signature styles for each form of power from ice to fire. This is a good touch that will go a long way in making people come back to watch certain scenes over and over again.

Movie atmosphere

Whenever I go see a film, there’s one main component that I’m looking for besides the action, actors, or genre. It’s the atmosphere of the film. I don’t care how good a movie is or how decent the actors perform. If the atmosphere of the film is bad then the movie is bad, point-blank. Why? because the atmosphere defines the movie.

well-placedIt takes the viewer into its world. It helps the viewer’s imagination and creates a connection to its characters. Needless to say, the atmosphere of this film was captured well, as everything from the lighting, settings, sounds, and effects used were on point.

The overall tone of the film was well-placed due to the right use of atmosphere. When you needed to be excited, the film got you worked up. When it needed the audience to connect to its characters, the film got you there too.

The sound effects helped a lot in storytelling here as well. The effects, as far as the CGI used to create the superpowers of each individual, were right where they needed to be and weren’t over the top.

Plasma Generation superpower in Project Power Netflix  Movie
Plasma Generation superpower

Character development

The second component I look for in a film is character development. One of my pet peeves when viewing a film is that I become fond of a character and then that same character either digresses or doesn’t evolve at all. Character development is important to a film because it helps the overall plot theme, it becomes relatable to the viewers. Robin became more vocal and confident.

Frank accomplished his goal and had his eyes opened. Art found what he was searching for. Positive character development is nothing but hope on a platter. In these times, we can all use a dash of hope.

What could have been better?

With positivity, there’s also negativity. With that said, it’s time for the bad news. What didn’t I like about the film? Earlier I said that even though I enjoyed the film, it was consistent with most modern-age superhuman movies of its genre; meaning it was predictable and that there were also times during the movie I had trouble keeping up with its plot.

Let’s face it, every current-day movie about superpowers, mutants, superhumans, etc usually shares the same premise or plot.

In this case, it was a pill that gave you superhuman powers. Does anyone remember “Limitless”? Or “Lucy”? Enjoyable, but still very cliche. I would like to see a film that does something completely different and out of the box. Will I ever get to see that happen? Probably not, so I make do with what I have.

Project Power Netflix Movie Poster
Project Power - Definitely not getting a sequel!

Now for the plot. What was going on with this scene where Art either had a flashback, hallucination, or something completely different? In that instance, I got very confused as to what was happening.

That wasn’t the only time either. Moviemakers get really creative while showing the passage of time, that’s good. they should also ensure that the audience isn’t left guessing as to what happened and when.

Update 19/07/2024

Project Power is a good ol' time with a lot of great special effects and cool superpowers. What it lacks however is a deeper plot and interesting sub-text that deals with the current socio-economic climate and cultural undertones.

The low-hanging fruit would be to equate superpowers with money or influence in the world which the movie makers have leaned into. The more interesting layering could be the use of superpowers to highlight classism in society and inequities that exist in the form of income disparity, racism, and ill-treatment of the underprivileged sections of society.

Considering you have two of the biggest stars on the planet - Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt roped in to act, the movie makers should have aimed higher. Levitt was almost Robin and Foxx played an electrifying supervillain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and yet all they did was a mediocre CGI movie.

While Project Power is not the best of films, it is squarely in the sci-fi category and I have a lot of stuff from T-shirts to keychains on the same theme. You can buy them from Keychains Co.

The Final Word

I enjoyed this film because it’s almost everyone’s secret dream to be able to take a pill and get superpowers. Regardless of the aspects, I didn’t like as a whole, the film made a good attempt at the things that mattered in good filmmaking: action, atmosphere, and character development.

You will like this film if you like X-Men, mutants, superhumans, sci-fi, and anything to do with superpowers, but don't expect a masterpiece!

First published 23/10/2021 and updated 19/07/2024



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