Netflix’s Project Power takes the superhero genre down a unique path with an intriguing premise, clever writing, and enjoyable characters and action sequences.
I have to say, I’ve been very impressed with the quality Netflix has been putting out the last couple of months. This year has been pretty impressive with the action-spectacle, Extraction, as well as the very well-made The Old Guard. The streaming service doesn’t seem like it’s stopping anytime soon, which is fantastic news for myself and many others, considering we haven’t been able to go to the movies for almost half a year (feels like a decade). But, let’s get back on topic with the subject at hand, Project Power.
As a superhero enthusiast (movies, TV series’, comic books, video games, etc.), I will watch just about anything in this specific genre. With how popular this genre is thanks to massive franchises coming from Marvel Studios and some DC films, I feel it has opened doors for much smaller and independent movies to be made and tell much different stories. I feel Project Power does this successfully and in a very different way.
Right off the bat, the movie comes out swinging with an interesting premise I think most viewers can get behind. A pill/drug that you can take, which gives you a superpower, or simply “power” as they call it in the film, for a short period of time? Who wouldn’t want to experience that, even if it’s only temporary? But, there seems to be a twist.
As one of the villains, Biggie, in the movie states, “results may vary.” Before buyers even take the pill, they aren’t entirely sure what power they will be granted, which I feel adds a ton of depth to this concept because of the unpredictability and randomness of the drug. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film since you can’t just be whatever you want to be. “You get what you get,” like Robin says (Dominique Fishback), who’s one of the main characters in the movie.
She plays a pivotal role in this film since she’s a dealer and happens to come across Art, aka The Major (Jamie Foxx), who’s trying to find the source of this drug in order to find his daughter. I won’t dig into many spoilers, but this is the focus of the plot for the majority of the movie. Foxx is great in this film, just like in everything else. He’s a very charismatic actor, but he also brings a certain intensity to this role that elevates the character of Art even more.
One of Robin’s friends, a cop named Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), is also someone who understands how dangerous this pill can be. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t use it to his advantage, though. When he does take the pill, he becomes bulletproof. So, as a cop, you can see how this might come in handy for him. It’s good to see JGL acting again since it seems he hasn’t been doing much of it for the last couple of years.
There are other cool abilities the pill grants to certain people, such as turning into a human torch wannabe, which Machine Gun Kelly’s Newt does, as well as the opposite with another woman in the film, who freezes. Others are super strength, super speed, invisibility, growing in size, and, by far, the most creative one for me, was the flexibility one. This one guy was able to manipulate his bones however he pleased since, essentially, they were unbreakable. Another guy can create weapons out of his body, so that’s also cool.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this film and it mainly revolves around the pill. But, I believe there’s so much more to it than that. It’s also a film about family and what one will do for their loved ones. There are many other underlying themes, such as the lengths people will go to get what they want for personal gain, how some of society can be indispensable when it comes to advancing certain projects, and, most importantly, how destructive too much of one thing can be if you aren’t careful. As awesome of an idea the power pill sounds, too much of it, like any other drug, can be life altering and, in many cases, fatal.
Project Power is, indeed, a superhero movie at its core, but it’s very different compared to what’s out there. It doesn’t come without its flaws and I wish more stories were touched on in order to understand some plot points a bit better. The villain isn’t the greatest either. However, it’s a very grounded and cleverly made movie I think most will enjoy.