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Project Power

Project Power
First class production values are probably the standout element of 2020's Project Power, a big-budget action thriller that is difficult to completely invest in due to a far-fetched story.

As this Netflix thriller begins, there is a new drug circulating the streets of New Orleans in the form of a pill that when it is taken, it gives the user extraordinary superpowers for five minutes. The only thing is that the person taking the pill doesn't know what kind of superpower he's going to have. Despite the obvious problems with such a drug, the supply and demand has brought the crime rate in New Orleans to a dangerous level. A local cop with a Clint Eastwood complex, a teenage drug dealer, and a former military man with his own reason for stopping the drug from being used by a dangerous organization who have a much more dangerous agenda for the drug that mere street sales.

Mattson Tomlin's logic defying screenplay is the primary culprit as what is wrong with this film. It's difficult to understand why there would be a market for a pill that gives the user superpowers for five minutes without knowing what the power it is. For example, the first person we observe taking a pill turns into a human torch, like Johnny in The Fantastic Four. I guess it can keep the cops away from you, but how much crime can a human torch commit? The practicality and monetary benefit of such a drug seems to be a pretty difficult thing to gauge, though the film's villain does eventually inform us that this drug could be instrumental in genetic research and curing disease, which is a bit of a stretch.

Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman seem to be aware of the deficiencies in the screenplay and do their best to cover them up by keeping things moving at a lightning clip and utilization a first rate production team to make the alleged super powers at the center of the story credible;

Joseph Gordon Levitt is terrific as the New Orleans cop and Jamie Foxx offers another of his slick but human performances as the ex-soldier. There's also a star-making turn from young Dominique Fishback as the young drug dealer. The film also features spectacular editing, visual effects, sound, and music, but without the credible story that should be at its foundation, the film never quite becomes what it should have been and holding viewer attention is a bit of a challenge.