Review: ‘Project Power’ is desolate of any uniqueness

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Courtesy of Netflix

TRL's Ryan Wang said the film "screams mediocre at best, and is reminiscent of pretty much every other superhero film ever created."

Ever since movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Comics’ “Justice League” took theaters by storm, American entertainment has been obsessed with characters with super powers, and for good reason. They’re a perfect blend between fantasy, reality, and action, and ultimately attracts interest from all demographics. However, the superhero genre within entertainment has been grossly oversaturated, and it seems every narrative deemed unique, draws inspiration from others like it. While Netflix’s take on the superhero movies,Project Power,” seemed to have found a very rare angle in dealing with superpowers, the creators appeared to have chosen quite possibly the laziest route in developing this film. In the end, you have an action film that screams mediocre at best, and is reminiscent of pretty much every other superhero film ever created. 

At first, the story seems promising. By now, audiences are used to characters being exposed to some kind of radiation or involved in a freak accident to gain superpowers, but “Project Power” takes an alternative route. In this universe, anyone can temporarily get powers. All they have to do is gamble their life by taking an illegally engineered pill. The five minute powers bestowed vary, sometimes you turn into a walking fireball, as seen by Machine Gun Kelly’s cameo character, sometimes you get bulletproof skin, and sometimes you simply explode. But of all the powers that were mentioned within the movie, none of them truly stand out as a unique concept. The lack of creativity within the very core of the film, superpowers, is vastly obvious, stripping away any uniqueness in that aspect. 

The plot itself is also so familiar it’s almost boring to watch, because it’s just so predictable. There are no plot twists, no intense moments that have you hanging on the edge of your seat, and it’s utterly barren of any emotional drama as well, which is a shame when considering the talented cast. Art (Jamie Foxx), is the tragic vigilante who’s daughter (Kyanna Simone Simpson), is kidnapped by an underground criminal organization developing weaponized pills, who’s looking to sell to various other criminal organizations. It’s just such a thin plot that seems to have been reused way too many times across genres in films like “Taken,” “Jurassic World,” and “Extraction.” And just to add to the blandness, the writers incorporated the all-too-familiar “hand over your gun and badge” scene with detective Frank Shaver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the only good cop in a city full of corrupt ones. Shaver and Art end up teaming together to take down this nameless criminal organization, almost exactly like every other movie that involves a criminal organization. This film had the cast and basic storyline to create an interesting film, but instead, chose to opt for the path of least resistance, desolate of any uniqueness at all. 

The one thing that the film set out to accomplish and somewhat achieve successfully, is the character arc of Robin (Dominique Fishback), who’s a 16 year-old aspiring rapper and part time drug-dealer, who ends up being more emotionally conflicted than one would have thought. Her story highlights the daily struggles of those living in more pauperized areas of the inner city, the financial burden her family carries, as well as her social anxiety despite her aspirations of rapping. It’s a heartfelt narrative and that many can relate to, making her the true superhero you want to root for. 

All in all, “Project Power” is at best watchable, simply because it feels like I’ve watched the same movie so many times before. For an action and mystery film, it has neither good action nor an intriguing mystery aspect to it, and is deprived of both comedy and drama, despite Foxx and Gordon-Levitt being versatile in both. Setting aside the overwhelmingly basic plotline, the movie has just that twinge bit of heart that comes as a pleasant surprise, but unfortunately, is still overshadowed by the simplicity and predictability of the storyline. “Project Power” is the kind of film that gets lost in the background, and it can thank it’s profound mediocrity for that.  

Rating: D+