The super hero genre needs to have new ideas to maintain its run of popularity. That’s just a fact. Project Power is a new idea that approaches the genre in a new and intriguing idea, but places that idea in pretty much of a familiar plot.
The film introduces us to a world where anyone who takes a special pill (called power) can unlock a hidden superpower inside of the person for five minutes. No one is sure what the power would be or if it would be a good power. It could range from super strength to being bulletproof, or you could explode and die.
Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a cop who is trying to stop the flow of the drug so he teams up with teenager Robin (Dominique Fishback), a young girl dealing the drug to earn money to help with her mother’s health costs. She supplies Frank with pills and he looks the other way.
However, a former soldier, Art (Jamie Foxx) arrives on the scene, kidnapping Robin, in an attempt to find her supplies. The suppliers have taken Art’s daughter Tracy (Andrene Ward-Hammond) and he is desperate to find her.
The premise of the film is great. The idea that this pill gives out a super power for only five minutes is creative, but, even more interesting, is that the superpower may not be a positive thing. Looking at these powers as something that was potentially ugly was shown in the movie through its CGI and design. The negative aspect of the pills was played up here and I really like this concept. I would have liked more of this than what we got.
The performances are really well done. You have two exceptional actors leading this movie with Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but the real standout here is Dominique Fishback. She is a troubled teen and her problems lead to her getting wrapped up here and she fits beautifully. She wants to grow up to be a rapper and she is great when she is showing her skills. She is filled with emotion.
The problem with the film is that the story itself is generic. In what could have been a really deep and different tale, the film takes very basic steps. Art is searching for his daughter. The villains are completely nondescript and basically dull. The story is easily the weakest part of the film.
However, there is enough clever writing here and there, and the performances are really good that you can excuse the negatives connected to the plot. The CGI is used sparingly and looks good. The action is well directed and feeds the story. They certainly did not overuse the CGI and the designs are weird. The film is engaging and entertaining and is a lot of fun to watch. It is just not the tremendous inspiration that it could have been.