Netflix’ latest superhero spectacular introduces the idea of a power drug that grants its user the ability to take on any variety of unique physical attributes. The catch is, it only lasts for 5 minutes at a time. So if you had the chance to acquire such abilities with limited time constraints, what would you do with them? That’s the question Project Power is trying to ask.
Headed by Jamie Foxx’ Art. A man on a rescue and retribution mission after the kidnapping of his daughter, Tracy (Kyanna Simpson). He believes her abduction is linked to the cooperation responsible for the creation and distribution of the drug which has quickly plagued the city of New Orleans. He’s working his way up the ranks, stopping at nothing to obtain any information on the whereabouts of his daughter.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays NOPD officer, Frank. Creating a thin line between duty and detrimental, Frank likes to bend the rules in order to stay ahead of the game and the increasingly high demand for the drug. Even keeping a young dealer, Robin (Dominique Fishback) on his radar.
Robin is what ties the story together and brings it all full circle. Crossing paths with Art, later earning his trust, the pair use their collective knowledge to fight against the deadly cooperation. Also, eventually bringing Frank in on the action with them.
Project Power dabbles in areas that have been seen many times before. A drug that gives you ‘Limitless’ power, a string of subplots that involve abduction/parent vengence, good and bad sides of law enforcement working together, and a pharmaceutical drug led villainous cooperation. Too much of its narrative feels common within the industry at the moment. The unique concepts that are here, merely serve as background vehicles for an otherwise dull, central theme.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Nerve, Paranormal Activity 3+4) adapt the work of writer Mattson Tomlin. Whether or not Tomlin is happy with the outcome, you feel a sense that there’s so much more that could and should have been expanded upon.
If there’s one thing these Netflix productions seem to be doing consistently, it’s wasting opportunity. There’s so much potential regarding its exterior. Plenty of interesting ideas and concepts that if paid more attention to, could have elevated its narrative, instead it sits on them and spends an undeserving amount of time on unwarranted and often dull story progressions.
The acting trio of Foxx, Gordon-Levitt and Fishback provide some quality to take away from it. But it seems that even with the experience of the former mentioned, Fishback holds her own and gets the strongest take away.
The visual department picks up an awful lot of the slack. When we do get a glimpse of what this ‘Power’ can do, and the effects caused from using such drug, its the peak of the movie’s excitement. But it doesn’t happen often enough.
What seemed promising from the start, especially with talent such as Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt tied to the project, feels obsolete by the end. Action over compelling narrative is something that’s not uncommon in this market, but it never stops being frustrating.
Project Power doesn’t completely fail. It’s still a fun ride which has plenty going for it. The acting is strong, it has its exhilarating moments and it’s not overstuffed with unnecessary nonsense. Had it tightened up its story and made more use of its intriguing concepts, then it would feel much more worth your time.