Jamie Foxx is another ultimate VFX action hero…
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect based on the initial trailers and promo materials for Project Power. Magic Pills that make you invincible for 5 minutes–it all sounds like a Mario Bros. reboot. It’s a welcome action B-movie in the waning dog days of an especially lackluster blockbuster summer. Project power features a few commendable performances, interesting action set pieces, and stunning visual effects. It’s not winning any awards, just enjoy it for what it is.
Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The magic pills drive the plot but there’s some heart behind the story. Jamie Foxx, who seems to be phoning it in a bit, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a mutual goal: eradicate the power pill from the streets. The pill has varying effects in different people–some get super strength, some just kind of catch on fire and explode. From fiery, OD’d thugs to super-powered goons, the two protagonists must figure out how to defeat the standard issue evil military-industrial complex.
The relatively straight-forward plot allows time to introduce a few relevant socio-cultural themes in between VFX bonanzas, which is seen through the eyes of trusty sidekick Robin (hmmm). Robin is played by Dominique Fishback, who delivers the standout performance and elevates the movie while introducing some authenticity to the story.
Action on Par with the 80s Classics
The efficient action sequences are on par with Cannon B-movies from back in the Golden Age, although it’s much more stylized. The directors, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, have a background in such schlocky horror/thrillers like Paranormal Activity 3 and 4 as well as indie flicks like Nerve and Viral. They’re really trying hard to have a unique filmmaking style in Project Power to the point of being a nuisance, but overall the action scenes are competently shot and engaging. Ditch the damn color gels and dial it back a bit boys! Oh wait, they’re doing a Mega Man movie next…never mind.
But, How Ultimate is it?
The world-building lends itself to a few sequels or, better yet, a series that’ll probably last one season. There should be a lot of material to work with when there’s a new kind of war on drugs that involves defeating increasingly powerful super-human users. Government conspiracies provide the intrigue and when combined with the horror and action elements, a Project Power series would have more potential and flesh out some of the ideas that the movie underdeveloped.
If you’re looking for a serious character study or deep commentary on the human condition, this one probably isn’t for you. If you’re looking for some fun summer entertainment that holds your interest to the final inedible kernels at the bottom of your popcorn tub, this is the movie to stream while we still have some summer left. Project Power solid though. Nothing really new here but it takes a slightly different angle on the superhero genre. But face it, you’re going to watch it for the ultimate action. Now playing on Netflix.