“Project Power” is another grounded sci-fi film from Netflix that doesn’t quite tick the necessary boxes.
Starring Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback, “Project Power” is centred on a mysterious pill that temporarily unlocks unique superpowers for each user. It can be anything from invisibility to super strength or something deadlier. As crime reaches new heights in New Orleans, local police officer Frank ( Gordon-Levitt) works with teenage dealer Robin (Fishback) and former soldier Art (Foxx) to track the down the group behind the production of the pill.
At face value “Project Power” seems to be an action-packed thrill ride with a grounded science fiction element and A-list actors. Unfortunately, due to very little world-building, I was left confused as to what I was watching. Since I’m a bit of a comic book universe nerd, I couldn’t figure out whose superpower concept they were trying to rip off here.
Was it the Mutant-X gene from Marvel or the Metahuman gene from the DC universe? And the exposition given in the film to explain how the pills work didn’t help either.
This is why world-building is important when it comes to introducing something supernatural or science-fiction based. For most of the film I couldn’t figure out why these pills existed, how they were made, the mechanisms around the powers they unlock and why the villain was distributing these pills when it only lasts for five minutes.
The screenplay also didn’t help. The characters go from point A to point B because of the necessities of the plot, but there is very little character motivation.
Foxx’s character, in particular, is supposed to be a former soldier but acts in a very rash and impulsive manner, seemingly forgetting how to use his experience and training to find his missing daughter.
The dialogue is very dry overall and fails to engage the viewer. Foxx’s is character was very one-dimensional – he’s a better actor than what is presented in “Project Power”.
The visual effects (VFX), for the most part, are what you’d expect from any major film – except for one scene in the middle. The CGI in this scene is awful. It’s clear that the VFX team was rushed in producing that scene because everything else looked fine.
I initially thought that "Project Power" was a mediocre film that’s nice to watch if you have some time to spare, but as I kept watching the less interested I was in how the story would end.
And the reason... the lack of world-building.
“Project Power“ will be available for streaming on Netflix from August 14.