Medium Strength: Our Review of ‘Project Power’ on Netflix

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - August 14, 2020
Medium Strength: Our Review of ‘Project Power’ on Netflix

True power comes from with in…

On Netflix today, Project Power is a decent but occasionally goofy action film that could have used a little more character development to be something truly “powerful”.

On the streets of New Orleans, word begins to spread about a mysterious new pill that unlocks superpowers unique to each user. The catch: You don’t know what will happen until you take it. While some develop bulletproof skin, invisibility, and super strength, others exhibit a deadlier reaction. But when the pill escalates crime within the city to dangerous levels, a local cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teams with a teenage dealer (Dominique Fishback) and a former soldier fueled by a secret vendetta (Jamie Foxx) to fight power with power and risk taking the pill in order to track down and stop the group responsible for creating it.

It’s been ten years since the directorial team of Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost gave the world Catfish and in that time they’ve turned into some pretty serviceable story tellers as Project Power certainly moves and has the feel of an action thriller with a science fiction tinge that all can enjoy, you just have to be able to look past a few glaring issues in the script.

There’s almost no character development outside of the three leads, and even there’s it’s a little thin as it only gives us just enough motivational inspiration to stay with heroes from beginning to end.  There just wasn’t much on the page for these actors to work without side the very basic motivations of the story and it all moves along a little too neatly to be truly memorable.

That being said both Schulman and Joost have built up enough of a track as storytellers and have a distinct and clear eye when it comes to staging action and building set pieces.  While using the city of New Orleans (obviously for tax purposes) but also using it as a part of the narrative is getting a little tiring.  This is officially the limited of movies about nefarious things being perpetrated by various bad guys in the streets of NOLA.  It’s been done, and we’re on the brink of it being done to death but it ultimately gets a pass as it is a super slick and fun affair with a vibrant soundtrack and not too many lulls along the way.

Let’s get it straight, Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt aren’t really in this one to “act”; rather they’re here to be movie stars…and in Project Power that actually works in its favour.

With Jamie rolling into town and kicking ass, all that’s really required of him is some super star swagger which he has in spades.  He just needs to look good and get the job done, the subplot and motivation they give his character is a little lazy, but it gets us as an audience where we need to be.  Meanwhile Joseph Gordon Levitt actually has some potential as the ‘good cop who’s not afraid to bend the rules’ kind of hero, the one we saw flashes of in The Dark Knight Rises and here he manages to put a little Cajun flavour on his performance.

The genuine pleasure of the film comes with Dominique Fishback as the headstrong teenage drug dealer (who’s doing it for the right reasons) and has enough written for that she gets to stand equal with both Foxx and Levitt as they trade one liners, and while they are rarely all together on screen there’s enough quality chemistry between the three to keep the film clicking at an entertaining pace.

At the end of the day, Project Power is decent popcorn fare that will keep you entertained from top to bottom, but you probably won’t retain much of it as soon as your Netflix cue shows you something else.

  • Release Date: 8/14/2020
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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