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Movie Review: "Project Power"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Project Power

Netflix Release: 8/14/2020

Netflix Release: 8/14/2020

Synopsis

Art (Jamie Foxx) is on a mission to save his daughter. She has been taken by a group of scientists who are using her to make a powerful new drug. The drug gives people who take it incredible powers. Each person has a unique power that is enabled when they take the drug, but for each person, the power they enable is the same each time they use it. Some people get incredible speed, some people become invincible, some people become stronger, some people ignite into flames, and there are countless other possible abilities.

The drug has been named "Power" and in order to test it, and work out its side effects, the developers have distributed the drug to street dealers in New Orleans. Since then, New Orleans has become chaotic, with common street criminals now having incredible powers. One drug dealer named Robin (Dominique Fishback) has found herself as the latest target of Art, who is on a desperate mission to find the scientists who have taken his daughter. However, a local cop named Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been an acquaintance of Robin, and he is devoted to rescuing her from Art.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

Power (+5pts)

Frank (-3pts)

The Protagonists (+6pts)

Long (-6pts)

The Action (+4pts)

The Antagonists (-3pts)

movie-review-project-power

Pro: Power (+5pts)

Power was the name of the drug that found itself on the streets of New Orleans in this story. It was an interesting premise for a few different reasons. A pill that activates super-powers is a unique idea, but it was made more unique by the fact that there are a variety of different powers that one could have. One person always gets the same power, but different people get different powers when they take the pill.

This gave the movie some unpredictability, as you never knew what each person's power would be. Then there was the chaos that came from a drug like this being sold by drug dealers on the street. It flipped New Orleans on its head, and I thought the filmmakers did a great job at making it feel that way. On its surface, one could look at the pill as a gimmicky idea, but the filmmakers executed it in a way that made this feel like a real, lived-in world, and it made diving into this world something that was easy to do.

movie-review-project-power

Con: Frank (-3pts)

I liked Frank in terms of his interactions with Robin and Art, and his story as a cop trying to get by when common street thugs now have super powers. What I did not like about Frank was that there was a large portion of time when he was kind of kept on the back burner. This was when Art and Robin were together and doing their own thing, and Frank was trying to find Robin. The filmmakers kept coming back to this, and I thought a lot of it could have been cut. It did not really add anything to the story, and just contributed to this movie feeling longer than it needed to be. It was almost as if the filmmakers were writing the story for Art and Robin, then remembered that Frank existed, so they tried to force a side storyline to explain where he was. If the filmmakers wanted to come up with something for Frank to do that felt relevant, they could have developed his story as the cop trying to survive in this world further, as this was far more interesting than what the side storyline that we got.

movie-review-project-power

Pro: The Protagonists (+6pts)

There was Art’s story, and his mission to find his daughter. There was Robin’s story, and her goal to make some money to help her mom. There was Frank’s story, and his desperation to keep up with the super-powered criminals on the streets. Then there were each of these characters interactions with one another. None of these characters were very complex—in fact they were all pretty simple, and some had stories we had seen before—but their stories worked or this movie. It was easy to get behind each of their motivations, and it was interesting to see them coming together. This movie was not exactly great, but these three protagonists were one of its strengths.

movie-review-project-power

Con: Long (-6pts)

This movie was a little under two hours, but it felt closer to three. It just felt like it dragged on longer than it needed to, which was a result of parts of the story that were not needed—such as what Frank was up to while Art and Robin we’re together—but it was also a result of a drawn out origin for Robin and Frank’s friendship. Were these scenes bad? No, not at all, but I thought they got more focus and screen-time than they needed to and contributed to making this movie feeling drawn out. There was no one scene that I thought should have been taken out entirely, but there was a lot that could have been trimmed down to make a lean, hour and a half movie that flowed a lot better.

movie-review-project-power

Pro: The Action (+4pts)

The action in this movie was nothing you have not seen before. There were super-powered characters running around causing chaos, and there were non-super-powered characters running around killing people as well. This movie was not lacking in action, and while that action was nothing that will blow you away, it was entertaining and exciting while it was happening, and there was plenty of it. Art was on a mission to save his daughter, and he was willing to stop at nothing to get her back. In that respect, he was on a rescue mission, but he was also on a revenge mission.

While Art wanted to get her back, he also wanted to make those who took her pay. This mission made way for a lot of action sequences in which he was going up against tons of baddies. Some had powers, and some did not, but Art did not back down from any of them. Then there was Frank, who had a pretty entertaining run-in with a super-powered bank robber. There was plenty of action in here, and while it was nothing crazy, it kept me entertained enough to continue watching.

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Con: The Antagonists (-3pts)

The antagonists in this movie were simply under-developed, and uninteresting. They had developed this new pill, and wanted to test it to show investors that it worked. However, they knew the pill had not been perfected, and knew they still had disastrous kinks to work out regarding the pill’s efficiency. Thus, from a business perspective, it made no sense to test it on the streets of New Orleans in the pill’s current state, as it would make the pill’s problems very public.

It also made no sense to bring in potential investors and test the pills on them, as it could have made potential investors into victims. Basically, the filmmakers had the idea for this pill, and they wanted the developers to be the antagonists of this story. As a result, they had those antagonists make the most evil decisions possible, even if those decisions made no logical sense. The writers just wanted bad guys, but by making their characters’ actions not line up with their motives, the writers made antagonists that seemed dumb and under-developed.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-project-power

Grade: C+ (78pts)

The filmmakers had a decent premise with this movie. It was all about a pill that—when taken—gives its user a super power. Each individual has the same power every time they take the drug, but different people have different powers. It was an interesting idea, and having a drug like this released on the streets gave this world a sense of chaos that made it a pretty interesting to watch.

The action was decent, and it was entertaining while it was happening, and the main characters had simple but effective stories. Unfortunately, the movie felt long, and the antagonists were illogical and underdeveloped. This movie had its strengths and it had its weaknesses. It was not a bad movie, but it was not exactly good either. It had its moments, but ended up being just an average action sci-fi movie from Netflix.