Project Power has everything a summer blockbuster is supposed to be. Too bad you’ll have to watch it from your own television set. We should be thankful. With the entertainment industry and everyone else on home lockdown due to COVID-19, many of us have been forced to watch relics of old movies that no one cares about or films that were trash when they came out some two to three decades ago.
So, Project Power, starring Jamie Foxx, Dominique Fishback, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, came through at the right time. It’s funny. It has its sad moments. There are touching scenes between Foxx’s character and that of Fishback who almost steals the show from the film’s star.
More importantly, the action is never dull and yet the storytelling does not make the film seem like you’ve seen this before. That’s because you haven’t. The storyline in nutshell is that a pill that allows individuals the ability to gain superpowers is floating around on the streets of New Orleans.
A soldier with a chip on his shoulder (Foxx as Art) acts as a one-man army working behind the scenes trying to take down the forces that allow the super pill to be on the streets in the first place.
Because Art (Foxx) is moving on the realm of street vigilante, New Orleans police officer (Gordon-Levitt as Frank) gets a beat on the ex-serviceman as perhaps as the source who is putting the pill on the black market.
While Franks stays on the heels of Art, he hooks up with and befriends a teenage drug dealer (Fishback as Robin) trying to get her hustle on and make some quick cash without anyone noticing.
The problem with that scenario is that if you’re up late at night trying to push drugs, the schoolwork is going to be affected by this. With no father around to inject some structure into her life, Robin runs into this problem and gets busted in the process by Frank trying to sell off the super drug.
Now that is about all I will say in regards to a spoiler. What I can speak about is how desperately we needed to have a film like this. For the first two weeks, it has appeared on Netflix, Project Power ranked No. 1 to audiences in the U.S. That could be because of a number of reasons. First and foremost, do we even see Project Power without the film being over expected blockbusters that were pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
And I think people sitting at home have been so thirsty to see a quality movie that everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Project Power is a superhero movie with a twist to it. First, the lead character is Black. The subplot of the film centers around a Black teenager who is trying to find her lot in life besides going to school. Robin finds her niche in rapping.
But so what? Everyone has a rap game these days. Robin, however, has the uncanny ability to freestyle on a moment’s notice. And she does it with flair. Ok. Please don’t assume this is a cheapie film because it’s not because I used the word rap. The special effects and visualizations are so off the hook that make Project Power on the playing field of one of DC Comics and Marvel’s masterpieces.
No, Project Power is neither DC Comics nor a Marvel replica. The Netflix original film billed as being part sci-fi, part crime, part thriller, and with plenty of action thrown into the mix, is a different beast altogether. Foxx is the perfect actor to carry out the role of Art with his irresistible presence. Foxx could probably charm the skin off of a snake.
What Foxx does with Art is bring a gritty, hardened, and no-nonsense posture to this role with a huge dash of likeability. As Art, Foxx, who won an Academy Award for his leading role in Ray, executes his acting chops with a sense of humility as he gets close to Robin as he chases down the bad guys who have kidnapped his daughter.
This is a good Jamie Foxx moment. But Foxx has to give up some of that well-earned cache to Fishback who is incredibly believable in her role as Robin. Teenagers can come across as being hard but underneath the tough-as-nails exterior, there is a vulnerability to them they don’t want to get exposed. By their parents, by their teachers or by their peers.
Fishback’s character Robin gives you that impression throughout the film until a breakthrough effectively shakes all of that. Robin is hard on the streets as she pushes drugs to make money. She puts up her guard in the classroom. That bravado is challenged by Frank, a forgiving but uncompromising figure in the film.
And so to tie all of this into a neat little bow, Robin’s wayward ways land her in trouble with Frank who wants her to clean up her act. But there is a lot of money to be made with this super pill.
Somehow, Frank, Robin, and Art eventually band together to track down the criminals exporting the super pill. What we get is a high-energy ride of the good guys trying to flex their muscles on the busters operating on the other side of the law. What they find out is that the fight between good evil is a lot harder to handle than a pill.