After watching Netflix's new movie, Project Power, I was left unable to accurately define how I felt about it. On one hand, I found it to be disengaging and not really deserving of my attention; and on the other hand, I don't think I ever stopped watching a single minute. To say that Project Power is a bad movie, to me seems a little harsh, but I certainly wouldn't call it good either.
The plot of Project Power is centred around a drug that, when taken, gives you five minutes of superpowers; the catch is you don't know what your power is until you take it. Set in a near distant New Orleans, a super pill, aptly named 'Power', is being distributed at alarming rates around the city, with various superpowered incidents popping up around the city. Detective Frank Shaver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes on a mission to find the source of the pill, and is willing to use it himself if it means giving him an edge. This ultimately leads to him coming into contact with The Major (Jamie Foxx), who, like shaver, is trying to track down whoever is distributing the pill, only where shaver is trying to cut off the drugs supply, The Major is looking to rescue his daughter, who was taken by the organisation that produced the drug.
The movie's subject is fairly interesting and booming with potential, but it ultimately fails to deliver anything meaningful in its two hour runtime. What can be said about the film is that it isn't exactly boring, as there is some pretty cool action sequences and shots throughout the movie, and even some funny moments here and there. The powers given to characters by the pill are unique in a way too, as the writers have pulled from the many bizarre attributes of the animal kingdom as the basis for the many powers we see throughout the movie; something that makes for some intense fight scenes.
But in the end, this is all it really has going for it, and is otherwise lacking in any real depth or substance, a shame given how great it could've been. Oddly enough, the movie flew in quick, and despite having a two hour runtime, it felt more like one, yet I honestly can't say anything of note actually happened. Where many films and even TV episodes fit so much into their short runtime, Project Power seems to have hemorrhaged any depth or substance it might've had. The plot itself seems like something you've seen before, with a simplistic plot and linear character motivations that culminate into a lackluster experience. I'd even say the movie is predictable, but it's only because the movie wants to be, with every plot detail or potential surprise teased or explained by a character beforehand, it gets to the point where the movie feels like it really doesn't want to try and surprise you. I couldn't help but feel as though I was being encouraged not to pay attention to the movie, and that it wanted me to just switch off and not really care, never actually trying to get my attention or deliver anything memorable.
Perhaps one of the movies biggest flaws is in its character development, which is pretty much non-existent. For a start, there's never any real antagonist or villain in the movie, leaving a gaping hole where a character to root against should be. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jamie Foxx's characters are interesting enough, with the pair fully committing to their roles, but from the moment they are first introduced to the last time we see them on screen, they remain static, experiencing no change, development or arc of any kind. Gordon-Levitt's Frank Shaver, remains a dedicated law enforcer, who, despite being unafraid of breaking the law to get his job done, is a good man that comes across as an average joe; Foxx's character, The Major, is morally ambiguous and stops at nothing to get his daughter back, killing whoever and whenever he needs to, though his good heart always shines through; and for those two, that's all they ever are. Even the character of Robin, played by Dominique Fishback, feels as though she's just there, and becomes more of a sloppy amalgamation of half-baked character traits rather than an actually interesting character, with her winning trait ultimately being her dream of one day being a rapper. The lack of any meaningful characters or stakes throughout the movie leaves out any possibility for audience investment or engagement, and with a fairly decent cast at the helm, that's a real shame.
I really don't have much to say about Project Power, and I suppose that's a symptom of how lackluster the movie actually was. Despite having an interesting premise, a lot of action, and a decent cast, Project Power is more of a background watch than blockbuster, and with a barebones plot, underdeveloped characters, and no real reason to get invested, it becomes nothing more than a throwaway movie that is ultimately forgettable.
You can watch Project Power now on Netflix.