Movie review: Project Power
It does so much right. Great cast, good acting, cinema-worthy effects, stupendous make-up, decent direction...
So why does Project Power lack, well, power?
Currently showing on the platform, this Netflix crime action film stars the always dependable Jamie Foxx, the second sighting on streaming of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and rising star Dominique Fishback.
Yet it feels like more time was spent collating the ingredients mentioned above, rather than getting the script right.
The concept of a drug giving superpowers but with a heavy "buyer beware" caveat was broached by Marvel comics around 20 years ago.
Here, it is given a scuzzy, sweaty layer of street hustle grime, featuring a New Orleans that will do very little for the tourist trade.
Yet, Project Power barely ventures outside the idea of treating it like any other street drug.
It also has a severe lack of direction, thanks to its uncertainty of which character to follow, leaving the viewer languishing in a plot cul-de-sac.
Every time you think it's kicked in, it gets distracted and the focus meanders.
Is this about a teenage dealer suddenly caught up in a vengeance trail?
Maybe they didn't want to focus on Foxx's dad on an uber-violent rescue mission because it would seem too much like Taken.
A side plot of Gordon-Levitt's powers-addicted cop sent erroneously to take out Foxx seems to suddenly get resolved without much bother.
All three subjects would be a worthy main plot, but non are afforded that level of focus.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman helped give the world the term and documentary film Catfish, and graduated to the Paranormal Activity horror franchise.
Each section is directed perfectly fine, even if some of the fight choreography is chopped to puree.
As a whole, Project Power does not connect. And sometimes, the effects are asked to do the heavy lifting. Without any weight, the spectacle can bland out.
There are some great ideas though. The fact that even if the drug does not cause you to redecorate the room, there can still be lasting, painful effects.
It is great that it is a diverse cast in both ethnicity and body type, though the apparent need to emphasise that Foxx is "fine" - "Mmm, yes you are", a waitress affirms - is painfully misplaced.
Overall, the drug analogy feels worthy of a smug high-schooler's essay and highlights Project Power's underwhelming vision about what would happen if superpowers were introduced to poor communities.
It could have been so much more.
FILM: Project Power
STARRING: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, Rodrigo Santoro
DIRECTORS: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
THE SKINNY: New Orleans is being flooded by a drug that grants superpowers. A teenage dealer (Fishback) and cop with a secret (Gordon-Levitt) find themselves pulled into the brutal mission of an ex-soldier (Foxx) to find the people behind the drug.