BOTTOM LINE:Hardly Wields The Power To Leave A Lasting Impression
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Action Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
Project Power is an action thriller with an interesting premise at its core – a pill that grants the user superhuman powers. The catch is that the power lasts all of five minutes; and the user doesn’t know what power they will get. Or even whether they will get a power or will simply implode to smithereens, as happens with a guy around the mid-half of the movie.
All the action takes place in New Orleans. The pills are doled out to drug-peddlers for free, to sell at whatever rate they want. It’s of course the easiest way to reach the pill to the tiniest nooks and crannies of the city, and a gullible population bites the bullet. The city is soon overrun with the pills, and violent crimes on the back of the ephemeral power are on the uptick.
The reality is that the pill is part of Project Power, an insidious program to develop powers so strong that they will allow the owner of the powers to rule humanity. The powers are mined from the DNA of animals, harvesting the unique characteristics of multiple species. Every pill delivers different and random superpowers in different people who bite into it – strength, flexibility, thermoregulation, invisibility, the like. So, one guy becomes The Hulk; another turns into a fireball; a third becomes invisible with chameleon-esque power to blend into the surroundings; a female gets Elsa-like powers to freeze anything she touches; a guy develops bones like rubber; and so on.
Three people, driven by their own agendas – young drug dealer Robin (Dominique Fishback), N.O.P.D. detective Frank Shaver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and ex-armyman Art (Jamie Foxx), get together to foil the plans of Genesis – the insidious organisation behind the power pill, and its morally bankrupt owner-scientist, Gardner (Amy Landecker). The three get going after the villains, even if, to do so, they must embrace the same power they’re out to destroy.
Dominique Fishback grabs immediate attention as the young drug-peddler cum aspiring rapper, Robin. She’s snarky, sassy and holds her own before her more distinguished co-stars. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is immensely likeable as Frank. He brings a spot of humour to the proceedings, along with an appealingly boyish charm. Jamie Foxx is solid and dependable as ever. He holds the narrative together with the inherent force of his personality and quiet presence, as also with his effortless maneuvers in the gritty action set-pieces. The rest of the cast lends adequate support, though none is outstanding by any means.
Project Power is a fast-paced and fun to watch movie. Two hours pass by in a jiffy, without making you wish that the movie would speed up or be done with quickly. That alone is testament to the fact that it is a good one-time watch. But that’s all there is to it. It fails to leave a lasting impression in the mind. It is the kind of movie whose charm dissipates the moment the screen goes black – much like the power pill in the movie whose power dissipates soon as the watch beeps out the signal that five minutes are up.
Project Power is an action thriller that is a cross between X-Men and our own Krrish 2. It takes a bit of every superhero movie there is and stitches together a patchwork of a movie.
The plot is riddled with loopholes, and several sequences are too simplistic to have a measurable impact. For instance, the ease with which Robin enters the high-security sensitive zones of the heavily guarded Genesis ship; or how easily Art gate-crashes the party where Biggie is showing off the power of the pill to a big-shot potential buyer from South America.
The more one delves into the movie, the more the similarities with the Hrithik Roshan – Vivek Oberoi starrer Krrish 2 become apparent. In fact, we would say, Rakesh Roshan did a better job of his creation than the co-directors of Project Power, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who go by the moniker of Henry & Rel.
Even the screenplay by Mattson Tomlin is just about passable. Several plot points in the narrative, that could have made the movie more engaging and memorable, are left unexplored. Art’s back story, and how his daughter Tracy got her superpowers, which form the base of Project Power’s super pill, is skimmed over sparingly. He simply narrates it to a mildly bewildered Robin.
The movie is lifted by its action set-pieces. Several action sequences are enjoyable to watch. Frank’s face-off with the man with the rubber bones is edge-of-the-seat. One sequence is the highlight of the movie. The woman who pops the pill and develops the power to freeze – a la Elsa from ‘Frozen’ — is left gasping for breath inside an indestructible dome, as Art grapples with the goons in the background. As she slowly freezes to death inside the dome, we see snatches of Art in the background, decimating the opposition. It is the one standout sequence of the movie.
Another sequence that stands out is the one where the character called Newt turns into a living fireball, raging after Art in the closed confines of a narrow apartment.
The movie also has strong racial undertones. Time and again, you are made aware that New Orleans has been chosen as the guinea pig for the pill coz of its majority black population. In one touching scene, Art cautions Robin against getting involved with drug-peddling. “You’re young, you’re Black, you’re a woman. The system is designed to swallow you whole,” he tells her, advising her to find her power – her inherent talent – and use it to beat the system.
That said, Project Power is good as a one-time watch, but lacks the power to whip up sentiments or long-lasting chatter over it.
Music and Other Departments?
The movie has some peppy compositions by Joseph Trapanese. It uses a fair bit of rap and hip-hop, with sassy lyrics designed to engage. Since Robin is an aspiring rap artist, she’s got her own set of lyrics to belt out. They’ve been written by upcoming rapper Chika. And oh, Chika makes a cameo appearance as Robin’s wildly cheering schoolmate.
Cinematographer Michael Simmonds has done a great job with the action sequences, plopping us bang into the middle of the action.
The production values of the movie are above average, with the action sequences shot really well.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, in parts
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Binged Bureau
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