The Netflix original action and science fiction film, “Project Power,” directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman was released on the platform on Aug. 14. Joost and Schulman partnered in the past on the 2016 film “Nerve,” which showed a few similarities to their newest release with both films following a plot that challenges people’s limitations and have individual characters break barriers. The pair are also notorious for directing popular horror films such as “Paranormal Activity 3” and “Viral.” Their latest stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback.
Foxx assumes the role of Art as he tracks down a dangerous drug that will be released on the New Orleans population. This mysterious drug is capable of granting five minutes of superpowers. Along the way, Art is introduced to Dominique Fishback’s Robin, a teen drug dealer, and Gordon-Levitt’s Frank Shaver, a passionate detective also after the origins of the drug. Each of these actors brings different positive aspects to the film, but their performances, specifically Gordon-Levitt’s, do not live up to their full potential.
Gordon-Levitt assumed a similar role in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” and did a significant job contributing to the film’s plot and adding life to the story. In “Project Power,” Gordon-Levitt is given this same ability and although he has his moments, throughout the plot and his dialogue, his performance did not shine as much as it could or should have. However, Fishback delivers an intriguing performance, setting the character apart from the situations that present themselves and ultimately capture her individuality well. It is no surprise Foxx contributes to the film as a strong lead role, and his acting performance helps develop the plot.
This film presents a unique idea, but takes a turn to focus on the basic pursuit of the villains who created a drug called Power. The personalities of the different characters and their dynamic make it interesting to watch, but there is too much focus on them instead of the drug. There is a contradictory mixture of reality and the impossible, leading to an unsteady tone throughout the film. The film rests comfortably in the sci-fi genre, but ultimately would stand out more if it focused on originality, rather than falling into filmmaking cliches.
This Netflix original does introduce a lot of real-world problems, including interracial stereotypes, that are relatable to a range of people. Not many films purposely introduce these topics because some are flat-out controversial. On top of confronting different issues, this film also highlights the importance of African American culture, which brings in exciting music and eye-popping color in the wardrobe. The visuals play a significant role in bringing together the action side of the film and make it fascinating to watch.
“Project Power” is the perfect example of a unique idea hindering its originality through execution. There are a couple aspects that make the film compelling and fun to watch despite the efforts to make it a conversation starter.