A new drug is being passed around the streets of New Orleans. The pill is pure power and gives whoever takes it the ability of superpowers for five minutes. It’s unstable. You don’t know what power you’ll get, or if your body will completely reject it and have your insides exploded on the streets around you.
Robin (Dominique Fishback) is a supplier, Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a police officer trying to level the playing field and Art (Jamie Foxx) is just a dad who is searching for his daughter. They’re an unlikely team but the best chance New Orleans has to stand up to the powers that be.
The concept of an unpredictable pill that grants you a random superpower… or kills you, is thrilling. However, despite the action and the rising stakes, I was rarely as stressed about the characters lives as I probably should have been.
As mentioned the concept is great, but it was a shame we didn’t get to experience more people taking the drug. It felt like it was only criminals who went down that route but surely there would be kids taking it to show off at school or something, or a woman getting out of an abusive marriage? For something that was allegedly sweeping the city, it felt restricted to the underworld.
Each of the main three characters, Art, Robin and Frank were all likeable and played their roles incredibly well. Watching Frank, walk out of the bathroom in a robe, Art pretending to be drunk so he could ‘stumble’ into the right rooms, Robin flipping from a head-down shy kid to one who shows how smart she is with her rhymes. These were the moments I lived for in Project Power.
What I found most fascinating about this movie was the characterisation of Robin (Dominque Fishback) in that her role feels like it was originally written for a male character. She was selling drugs to help pay for her mother’s medical bills, she was a rapper, and she rode a motorbike. All the traits of characters we have seen before – but usually played by a male.
This is a wild assumption of course, for all I know the role was always written to be played by a female, but, either way, it emphasises that there is no longer a need for stereotypical gender roles in film.
By the time we got to the end of the movie, we were still left with a number of unanswered questions. This, of course, means there is a lot to continue with – and tie up for a potential second movie.