Project Power had many people sold from the initial trailer. Once you considered the premise and star power, Netflix seemed to have a sure-fire winner on their hands. Did the final product deliver on the hype? Let’s get into the breakdown.
No spoilers ahead!
Jaime Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback all deliver “A+” performances. Early in the film, I felt that Foxx was missing the mark for energy and intensity that I felt was required of his character. As the movie progressed and character’s true motivations were revealed, I understood the emotional line he was attempting to walk and appreciated the performance much more.
Dominique Fishback was flat-out great. Initially, I wanted to praise her as a child actress standing toe-to-toe with Gordon-Levitt and Foxx and making it all look so effortless. Then I discovered she is 29. Twenty-freaking-nine! So first, amazing job convincing playing someone literally half your age. Secondly, congratulations to her for the phenomenal set of genes. She clearly enrolled in the Bianca Lawson School for Black Women Who Do Not Care to Age.
You can tell Joseph Gordon-Levitt is having a damn blast from beginning to end. He plays that “detective that takes the law into his own hands” role almost comically well. After a couple of scenes, you got the impression that his character definitely pops in Die Hard before he suits up for every shift.
Beyond our three leads, the action sequences are pretty good and maybe more violent than I was expecting. The “random superpowers” hook holds up, so long as you don’t think about it too hard, and our exposure to the acting of Machine Gun Kelly is limited.
The movie required a bigger effects budget. While I’m not sure what a human torch is supposed to look like, but in real time, I could feel that this movie was being held back. I could feel that there were greater things meant to be brought to screen. Additionally, there is a point in the film where the science behind the Power drug is revealed. They force you to think about the part I told you not to think about too hard. This slowed things down and pulled me out of the moment. Lastly, there was a criminal waste of Courtney B. Vance in this film. Chris Brown may have had a more substantial role in Stomp the Yard. Don’t “@” me!
The Chef’s Kiss
I’m a sucker for long takes. They subtly keep you locked into the action in a way that normal editing simply will never achieve. There is a nice long take building toward the climax of the film. A Power Pill user is experiencing complications in the foreground while Foxx is fighting off goons in the background. All in one unbroken shot we get some body horror combined with Batman level ass-kickery . I love it!
The Bottom Line
Project Power left me wanting more, but not necessarily in a good way. It was wrapped up too neat and tidy. I think this idea and universe would have been better served as a series. A series could give us more about Jaime’s background. We could have gotten more about the endgame of the drug manufacturers. I could have used more on the relationship between JGL and Fishback, both pre and post movie. All that being said, this was a fun movie that understood its key demo and checked the boxes it needed. Project Power is a good time and worth the stream!
You can watch Project Power on Netflix.