Wouldn’t it be cool to choose your own superpower? Would you choose invisibility, so you can shuffle around the world without notice (some of us already do, but that’s another story)? How about having the strength to lift tons of weight effortlessly? Would you want to be impervious to pain? Fly high in the sky? We all have our own ideas of what would be a great power. And most of us would love to have a superpower of our choosing.
But what if you played a game of Russian roulette for your superpower? Would you be so apt to take the chance of gaining a random power with the chance of losing your life? Netflix’s Project Power seeks to answer the question.
Now, before I get into the review of this film, let me answer that question. Before I became a dad, I would 100 percent have taken the path that led to getting a superpower. What would I want to get? Oh, I have thought of that many, many times. I always wanted to have super strength. Growing up, I was always picked on. I was, for lack of a better word, a complete nerd. I parted my hair to the side and slicked back. I wore glasses. I was into comic books and role playing games. I was one of the Top 10 percent of the students in my school for grades. I avoided being outdoors as much as possible, so I was pale white. And like you see in movies, there was a clique of people in high school that wanted to make themselves feel better by tearing me down. I never got into a fight, but I always wanted to be able to protect myself. That is why I decided to take up karate for years. But super strength would have been amazing. It would have been the cherry on top. “Hey… you wanna mess with me?” KAPOW! And as I grew up, it still was what I wanted, ’cause I always felt helpless when it came to helping out with physical activities, like some of the work at the haunted houses I have worked throughout the years.
However, my life completely changed back in September of 2014 when I became a dad for the first time. When I held that little girl for the first time, all the stuff I wanted just for me took a backseat. All I think of now is how I can make her life better growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I still have wants for myself. They are just secondary, instead of primary. And while the power pill could grant me a random superpower, the fact that I could blow up right then and there means that is going to be a hard pass for me.
So, that is my take on the question. Now, on with the review (’cause I am sure that is what you all are here for, anyway).
Project Power takes place in the not-too-distant future. A new drug, called Power, enters the market, granting whoever takes it the chance to unlock a superhuman power of their own. Unfortunately, there is a chance that the drug could cause your body to explode immediately. New Orleans Police Department Officer Frank Shaver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) spends many nights working on stopping the influx of crime caused by people trying to get their hands on this drug. During a bank robbery, Frank is shot in the head near point-blank range, but reveals that he is a Power user himself, surviving the otherwise fatal shot. Having outed himself, Frank is put on a new assignment from his chief: Find the source of the drug, believed to be a man named Art (Jamie Foxx).
Having tracked down a dealer (who happens to be Frank’s supplier) called Robin (Dominique Fishback), Art has a mission of his own. Using Robin’s contacts, Art invades a party hosted by Biggie, the main supplier in New Orleans. Hoping to interrogate Biggie for more intel, Art is almost arrested by Frank, until Biggie uses Power to become a giant. After the trio of Art, Frank and Robin escape, it is revealed that Art is a member of Teleios, a military contractor and the true origin of Power. However, the drug escaped into the civilian population, and now those civilians are truly “beta testing” the drugs, as new versions of it are being released. Art and Frank team up to find the true mastermind behind the drug and hopefully stop it from getting beyond control.
Project Power is a well-made superhero film. The special effects used are more than your average straight-to-stream quality. I would put most of the effects in this film next to any of the DC comics movies that have been made in the past few years. The storyline is very easy to follow, and while it did feel slightly predictable, it does have some sleight of hand that changes your perception of what will happen and makes you think that maybe, just for a moment, that your preconceptions are wrong. That makes Project Power stand out from the crowd of action-hero films that have been released this year.
While Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are great singles actors, they really shined in Project Power as a great team. With the added value of Dominique Fishback giving a great performance, you have a film that not only checks all the boxes for a great superhero film, it checks the boxes for a great film, period. There is a dynamic between these three actors that is hard to get in today’s Hollywood.
Netflix’s Project Power gets a solid five out of five stars. It is fun, action packed and very imaginative. All these things make for a wonderful experience that any sci-fi or comic book fan will love, while others will just enjoy the action it brings to the table.