REview: Project Power (2020) | Super Hero Noir Fires On All Cylinders

Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s Project Power is a superhero-adjacent Netflix movie starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback.

I write “adjacent” because while the movie revolves around people with super powers no one’s running around anywhere with capes, non de plumes or anything like that.

The story revolves around a new drug on the street that imparts special powers upon whomever takes it, though there’s a dark side in that there’s a chance that taking the drug could potentially kill the user as much as impart any sort of ability upon them.

There’s a shady company working to put the drug on the street – hardly an unusual thing in these types of movies – in a very non-FDA approved trial, though apparently the “risk” I mentioned is a pretty remote one.

In fact, of everyone who took the drug, we only see one actually die from doing so – I recall it being mentioned by Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – though considering he seems to take the drug two or three times himself sort of implies that maybe the odds of exploding maybe aren’t as great as the narrative implies.

Which is one of the movie’s problems.

Another is that the drug isn’t narcotic, which is to say that there’s no reason to take it beyond getting a power. No compulsion, no drive beyond the fact that maybe you want an awesome superpower.

I mention in my review that the movie is similar to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Card series, except in Martin’s novel people received their powers from an alien virus, and there was not only a chance of death, but a chance people could get powers that are a detriment as much as they’d gain an ability that might prove useful.

The movie states that the drug was made involving animal DNA, which means that people get powers based upon the abilities of certain animals, but there’s a predictability to the powers that’s doesn’t work for me.

By which I mean, if you take the drug and gain a particular ability you always get that same ability if you ever take it again, which is also weird.

It’s worth mentioning that in the world the movie exists in the drug is illegal, but considering the advantages and seemingly remote odds of blowing up like an outtake from Ripley Scott’s Alien, why not?

Art (Jamie Foxx) and Frank work desperately to outmaneuver the evil and well-connected, pharmaceutical company with tentacles in both the public and private sectors.

In fact, the company is literally giving the drug away to deals in a effort to further test and refine the formula though apparently it works well enough exactly as is that maybe they need not have bothered in the first place.

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