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Film Review: Project Power

18 August 20 words: Joanna Hoyes

Jamie Foxx stars as a five-minute superhero in Netflix's Project Power...

Director: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback
Running time: 111 minutes

Netflix’s latest offering comes in the shape of Project Power; a supernatural superhero thriller hybrid of a movie starring Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver) as ex-soldier, Art. A new phenomenon is sweeping the city of New Orleans: a pill which, for five minutes, gives the user a unique power ranging from the ability to be invisible, to contort bones into weapons or to burst into flame. It's effectively The Incredibles for adults. Art’s daughter is kidnapped by drug dealers for genetic experimentation and he is hellbent on locating “the source” of the powerful pills which will hopefully lead him back to his daughter.

The other big acting talent attached to this project is Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), a cop who is trying to keep the lethal lozenges off of his streets using somewhat hypocritical methods. His use of the drug gets him into hot water with his boss, but Gordon-Levitt’s power is bullet-proof skin, which is quite handy for a policeman regularly under fire so his boss lets him get on with it.

No matter how slick and professional Foxx and Gordon-Levitt are, they are only supporting artists in comparison to Dominique Fishback who plays Robin, the super-talented rapping teen who’s pedalling the terrifying tablets in order to fund her mum’s diabetes surgery. Fishback’s portrayal of Robin is so full of conviction, heart and style that she is easily the standout performance in this movie. I’m not usually one for improvised rap because it’s usually…c-rap, however Fishback’s freestyle spitting session with Foxx is completely brilliant.

Like a grittier version of Limitless with a hint of Taken

Project Power is like a grittier version of Limitless (the 2011 film starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro) with just a hint of Liam Neeson’s Taken for good measure. Although the plot is far-fetched, there are political and socio-economical themes running throughout which give the silliness of it all some roots. In one scene, Foxx laments, “Power goes to where it always goes; to the people who already have it.”

Whilst we’re talking about depictions of real life, I want to know how these characters are able to swallow the horse-tranquiliser-sized pills with alarming regularity without any water? Not even a sip. I have heartburn just from watching this. There are some segments of the narrative which would benefit from further development but perhaps writer Mattson Tomlin (The Batman) and director Ariel Schulman (Paranormal Activity) wanted to keep to the human elements of the tale as opposed to exploring how this magic medicine came to be in the first place. The title could do with some work also but I suppose the script’s original name, Power, was already taken.

The soundtrack gives the movie the punch it needs in certain scenes with tracks from Drake, DaBaby and The Weeknd lending a current, grime-y vibe. Overall, this is a fun watch with a scattering of memorable moments which might have fared better on the big screen. Bring back the cinemas!

Project Power is now available to stream on Netflix

Did you know? During filming, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had an accident on a bicycle which saw him go flying over the handlebars. Luckily, it wasn’t serious and he returned to the set following a visit to the hospital with an ice pack.

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