Presenting itself with a title so generic it promises all the excitement of a workplace training seminar, this big-budget Netflix Original is unfortunately emblematic of how the streaming service often seems to make types of movies, rather than, you know... actual movies.
A new street drug is emerging that gives its user an undetermined super power for five minutes after ingesting it. Or it might kill you - there's no way to know.
The film follows three characters in New Orleans: Robin (Dominique Fishback – The Deuce), a teenager selling the drug to pay for her mother's medical bills, Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), a cop who uses the drug on the job, and Art (Jamie Foxx – Booty Call), a desparate father searching for his daughter, whose kidnapping is tied to the drug's origins.
Although Project Power has a potentially interesting hook, every time the film threatens to go somewhere cool with it, the plot shies away from surprise and takes the conventional route, content to rely upon another brief, expensive-looking action set-piece that showcases a new super power.
Gordon-Levitt is spry and Foxx is authoritative, but Robin is the most interesting character, and Fishback delivers an authentic performance that bodes well for her future career.
Co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (who made the original Catfish documentary) employ nimble camera work enhanced by a fluorescent tinge that recalls their prior effort Nerve (2016). So the film looks really nice, but as with Nerve, it doesn't hold up to much narrative scrutiny.
Indeed, the whole affair appears willed into existence by a market research report, touching on various appealing notions without ever fully committing to any of them. Diverting at best, Project Power feels like a story nobody was particularly inspired to tell.
Cast: Dominique Fishback, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx.
Director: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.
Running time: 123 minutes.
Rating: 16+ (Violence).
Verdict: A novel concept, stylish aesthetics and some okay action don't make up for an underdeveloped narrative.