The Daily Gamecock

Review: Project Power isn't so powerful

Movie: Project Power

Release Date: Aug. 14, 2020

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Runtime: 1 hour 53 minutes

Genre: Action, crime, sci-fi

Rating: B-

Some movies are art, some are entertainment, and some are simply bad, but most rest somewhere in between. For "Project Power," the scales are tipped more towards decent entertainment than art. 

This Netflix original starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and directed by the people behind Nerve and Paranormal Activity 3, this action crime movie centers around a cop, a father and a teen girl dealing with the impacts of an underground drug that gives the abuser superpowers for five minutes. 

The majority of the movie follows the teenage girl as she deals drugs on the streets of New Orleans. She interacts with the golden-boy cop, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who just wants to do right by his city, and a tough- guy, ex-soldier father, Jamie Foxx, in search of his abducted daughter. 

For the most part, the plot, acting, world-building and writing for this movie was a wholly entertaining action movie that mostly seemed like a combination of good funding, an interesting idea and poor follow-through. Between its exciting scenes and lackluster story, it was fast- food entertainment that would be a good watch for a boring night. 

Strong acting from the main characters significantly contributes to the strength of the film, despite their cheesy or poorly written lines. Jamie Foxx rarely disappoints and Dominique Fishback had a compelling performance. There were attractive graphics involving the superpowers, and with the help of some formidable cinematography, scene-setting and color palettes, the movie has a fun comic book feel to it.

For an action movie, it had little originality in many aspects, like the excess of gunfight scenes or the shipping freight boat setting complete with a super-villain trying to make the world a better place. Many of the plot points served little purpose or seemed fruitless by the end of the movie. Some even seemed like cool ideas from storyboarding that were simply worked in as an afterthought. It’s a movie that makes for a bada— trailer or episode in an anthology series but is a weak feature-length film. 

There was often what seemed like an attempt to add in themes of poverty, government corruption and social oppression, which weren’t cheaply half-hearted but stood more to distract from the direction of the movie than add to it. 

Even though it was occasionally a distraction to the progression of the movie, with a dream sequence in a classroom and a sudden scene where Foxx’s character gives valuable life wisdom to the main character, rap and its culture was a small yet considerable part of the movie. The main character would occasionally burst out in rap, and even though it had elements of cheap, cheesy shots, it was actually well-done. The beats and lyrics built the character, and the genuine acting and skillful rapping added a lot to this loosely-added aspect. 

The scoring of the movie was interesting and unique too, involving a lot of rap and heart-pounding sounds. It was scored by Joseph Trapanese, who scored Straight Outta Compton, 2019’s Lady and the Tramp, 2018’s Robin Hood and Oblivion.