I watched Project Power on Netflix a few days ago, and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. However, just because this is a film with strong Black leads doesn’t mean that I can turn a blind eye when something (or should I say some things) bothers me. So here’s my full review of Netflix’s new superpowers movie, Project Power.
But don’t worry, you should still watch this!
As I said, I definitely enjoyed it. (Maybe not as much as I enjoyed The Old Guard but that’s a whole different scene.) Anywho, here’s my …
Project Power Movie Review
Project Power starts off great until you realize these 4 things …
… and then it’s kind of disappointing from there moving forward.
And when I say this I don’t mean the movie is bad. I just mean that once you realize that:
- these superpowers really only last 5 minutes
- the gamble of getting an explosive pill is almost nil to none
- the superpowers don’t change by pill use (only by who actually uses it)
- (and the biggest problem of all) these superpowers are nothing new … like we’ve seen them a thousand times before
… it’s pretty much downhill from there.
Thankfully, Dominique Fishback is an excellent actress, and she and Jamie Foxx make an excellent “crime-fighting” duo.
(Daddy issues aside.)
If you’ve read my initial thoughts post, then you know this thang is intense straight out the gate, and I totally love movies that hit me with some drama or suspense in the beginning.
Slow movies and undramatic beginnings bore me. So I’m glad this movie started off with a bang, so to speak.
Also, the music is great, even if they were “tryna make Lil Wayne relevant again”. *rolls eyes* (Yes, I don’t like his music, no you can’t change my mind.) Although, I didn’t hate the few seconds I had to hear his voice in this, so the music fits.
But a few of the scenes felt a bit impossible.
Especially the scenes involving Newt, who’s played by, spoiler alert, Machine Gun Kelly (who I had NO clue was gonna be in this).
Like, would someone really stay on fire for a whole 15 minutes despite what it was doing to their body to escape answering some damn questions about their dealer? I don’t know.
Well … actually, you know what, maybe!
Who knows. But with a superpower like that, it was kind of weird.
And that leads me to the biggest issue of this movie. None of these powers were new. Well, maybe one? (But then again, nope, I’m sure I’ve seen superhero movies or a tv show with similar capabilities as Jamie Foxx’s power.)
So that was incredibly disappointing.
I watched the movie with a friend and he pointed out that the powers were extremely similar to X-men. (And as much as I hate him for calling this a fake X-men movie, he’s kind of right.) Fire, ice, super strength, bulletproof, camouflage, these aren’t new powers.
So even though, I’m extremely happy for the strong Black leads in a film about superpowers, I’m also disappointed in the creativity behind the powers.
The promo for this movie boasted that these pills could have positive powers or negative powers, which could result in death. But that barely ever happened. Hell, there weren’t even that many people using the pills.
It would have been great to see … okay … pause for a second, I’m not saying folks should be doing drugs, however, for plot purposes … it would have been great to see this pill circle and do damage the way the drugs did in Black Lightning. So we could really see what the pills were capable of.
It seems like they played it safe by sticking to a few powers that we were already introduced to, and that really hurts this film.
Also, for some reason, (probably due to the trailer) I thought the pills were random!
They made it seem as if one wouldn’t know what would happen when taking them, which is true, but to an extent.
When taking the pill for the first time, you’re not sure how it’ll affect you or what power you’ll get. But once you do take it, as long as you don’t perish 5 minutes after, you’re good to go.
The pills have the same effect they do each time you take it. Which, honestly was a bit disappointing. I originally thought that the powers would be random when taking each pill, not random for each person.
But my biggest problem here is that I wanted something new, and I just didn’t get that.
Aside from that, Project Power was great.
However, there was another moment where I felt let down by the plot, but this one has to do more with how Black kids / women are portrayed in film.
And honestly, I’m not sure when folks will let go of these narratives, but until then I guess I’ll just keep pointing them out.
There was a scene in this where Jamie’s character tells Dominique’s character that she’s no longer a kid and it just irked me.
Not because he was right, because technically she was still a kid, despite selling drugs, so he was actually wrong.
However, when do we let go of this narrative that Black kids never get to just be kids?
I mentioned in my review of the Kissing Booth 2 movie, how this white girl just seemed to live such an easy life but Black kids never seem to get that happy life in films or tv shows. And Power Project is sadly just another example of this.
Robyn (Dominique Fishback’s character) wasn’t just selling drugs for the hell of it. If you’re Black, then you know that there’s always a secret motive behind kids selling drugs. And for this high schooler, it just so happened that her mom was sick and Robyn wanted to help pay for her meds.
So even though it’s not cringeworthy, and it fits the plot well … why do we keep portraying Black kids in this way? This, however, is perhaps the double sword one must deal with and come to terms with if we want more movies with strong Black leads though right?
I don’t know.
I’m not entirely convinced that these plotlines are needed to make a movie great.
I will say though, that while I’m complaining about plotlines I will point out that there isn’t any unnecessary violence in this.
There were definitely a few moments where things could have been extremely violent, and they weren’t, so I’m happy about that. Because again … we don’t need these extremely negative plotlines to thrive. I don’t need to see Black people being tortured, for whatever reason that it may be, so yeah.
Overall, Project Power is definitely something I enjoyed watching, and you should totally give it a shot.
Despite being let down by a few of the things mentioned above, I really liked this movie.
And yes we’ve seen these powers before, but it’s still dope.
Like I mentioned in my trailer review, Dominique Fishback is the one you wanna keep your eyes on.
Jamie Foxx is still great, but Dom’s performance is what really makes this movie.
Oh, and Dominique spitting Chika’s rhymes was definitely another highlight of this film. The artist Chika actually appears in the film momentarily, so I’m really excited for her!
If you haven’t watched Project Power yet …