Review by Dan Skip Allen
Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days. Disney and Warner Brothers have cornered the market on them recently with the MCU and DCEU, respectively. Occasionally a film will come out from another studio, or even a little indie film. Lately, Netflix has gotten into the superhero business with The Umbrella Academy, The Old Guard, and now Project Power. Project Power has a soft spot at its core despite all the blood and violence on the surface.
Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and written by Mattson Tomlin, Project Power has a lot of things in it that go right, and not much that goes wrong. These directors are known for Nerve and the last two Paranormal Activity films. They know how to make visual effects work in their favor. The visuals are gorgeous in the film. The cinematography from Michael Simmonds (mostly shot at night in New Orleans) is spot on as well. The city plays as a nice backdrop for this action thrill-ride of a film.
I mostly understood the story by Tomlin. If there was one flaw I could point out its the script. The story could have used being fleshed out a little more. That might have to do with the financial aspect of the budget. A lot of money was used on the visuals and getting top-notch talent like Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordan Levitt to star in the film. Both actors and their co-stars Dominique Fishback, Kyanna Simone Simpson did a serviceable job. They are the heart of the film. Without their performances, this film would fall apart.
Project Power focuses on three main characters. One is an ex-military man (Jamie Foxx), one is a New Orleans police detective (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and the other is a teenage drug dealer. They all have different motivations for why they are trying to get to the center of a drug ring surrounding an experimental pill that gives its users unpredictable superpowers for five minutes. The results can vary from turning them into a ball of flame or giving them the ability to stop a bullet. Let's say these pills give the user unimaginable abilities, to say the least.
The strengths of Project Power are its cinematography, its visual effects, and the performances from the three leads. The weaknesses are its script and runtime. This film needed to be more fleshed out. That being said, the story was engaging enough to keep me interested in this concept throughout the film. The three main characters were very entertaining to watch. Project Power isn't the best superhero film, but it's not the worst either. I look forward to seeing what these filmmakers do next.
Project Power is now streaming on Netflix.