Movie #273 2020: Project Power (2020)

I don’t know about you, but I still think it’s crazy cool that we are still getting new movie releases in a year when the majority of cinemas are closed. The question is, can Project Power save us from mediocre Netflix movies this year?

Project Power is ultimately a superhero movie. In this world, an unknown force has engineered a drug that gives the user temporary super powers. The catch? You don’t know what that power will be when you take the pill. Basically, there are some people who have been known to self-implode when taking it. An ex-soldier, a policeman, and a high schooler find themselves working together to figure out who created and distributed such a dangerous drug in order to take them down once and for all.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the film itself, I have to say that I’ve seen a lot of reviews claiming this isn’t the most original premise for a movie, but you know what is original? A movie involving superheroes/superpowers helmed by two African American actors. That shouldn’t be original in this day and age, yet here we are. (Obviously there’s Black Panther, but what else is there? I applaud this movie for that if nothing else.)

Jamie Foxx must be the only man in the world who just gets cooler as he gets older. He brings a brilliant performance here, as do the majority of the cast. Relative newcomer Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give) stands out as the best of the lot though, and it won’t be long before we see her in a bunch of other stuff, that’s for sure.

Men who set on fire and men who change colour as quickly as chameleons call for some extra special visual effects, and this one lives up to the expectation. Beyond that, some of the cinematography is excellent too. I personally adored the framing of the chicken takeout sequence in particular, which made me think of a modern-day version of Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. Google it.

The danger with introducing a concept like this in a feature film length of time is that it can be really confusing in regards to what the hell is going on. Basically, this might have been better as a mini-series so the audience could really grasp what’s happening and who to root for. One can only assume also that there would be some better character building if this had been a TV show, as there are a lot of loose ends involving the characters, and their exploration could be a really interesting thing to witness.

Project Power starts off quite strong but slowly loses steam, which is disappointing. The idea is interesting, but its execution results in some poor pacing, and whilst it’s stars are perfectly cast, there’s not enough excitement to latch on to in the second half.

At the start of this review, I posed a question: Can Project Power save us from a year of mediocrity in cinema? The short answer is no.

Project Power is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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