Directed by: Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback
Streaming on Netflix from August 14th
If you could take a pill that would give you superpowers for five minutes would you? Bearing in mind that you have no idea what that superpower would be. Well, according to this sci fi superhero offering, plenty of people would. So much so that it’s becoming a real problem on the streets.
Enter Frank (Gordon-Levitt) a cop who is determined to wipe out its use amongst criminals – even if it means taking it himself. He is aided in his efforts by his young drug-dealer informant, Robin (Fishman). When they find themselves mixed up with a renegade ex-soldier, Art (Foxx), whose daughter has been kidnapped by the drug manufacturer, they realise that they are dealing with something far more nefarious than they had even imagined. Forming an uneasy alliance, they must work together to eliminate the drug once and for all.
Yes, there is a lot going on here. But it manages to remain coherent. The three leads work well together, and Foxx in particular gives a great performance as the distraught dad trying to save his child. The ‘bad guys’ are very much caricatures, but they aren’t as annoying as they could be if we saw more of them.
The premise of the drug is an interesting one, and the fact it gives everyone different abilities means the action scenes never become rote. There are some fabulous big and brash set-pieces. And of course there are the obligatory explosions. Some of the CGI used when the drug involves a physical transformation is a bit on the dodgy side, but thankfully, there is not a huge amount of this.
Project Power is trying to tackle a lot of moral issues, and, as such, they become a bit jumbled. But if you ignore that, and just buckle up for the ride, this is a lot of fun. More intelligent than your average action film, well-paced and with three strong and well-rounded main characters, this should satisfy even the most ardent fan of the in-your-face, blow-‘em-all-up, summer blockbuster.
While it would have been great to see this on the big screen (and the effects and the action scenes would have really benefitted from it) it’s still an entertaining armchair watch.