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What if you could have superpowers for five minutes; Netflix’s new blockbuster, Project Power

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Perhaps it was my heavy boned stature or maybe my severe loath for exercise, if I am being truly honest with myself it was probably my inability to conjure up a lie in a whim. I was frozen on the spot; it was as if my feet had been drilled to the floor. My breathing was labored, my palms drenched in sweat and truth be told, I had been on the verge of wetting my Daffy Duck shorts. She might as well have been breathing fire through her nostrils with steam emanating from her ears. Rage didn’t even begin to cover her appearance. She was a gasket waiting to explode. All this because of my selfish love for “cha mama”.

I had neglected my post at the clothesline so as to join my friends in an elaborate game of playing house. I mean, who would have turned down playing the role of the spoilt baby? It was an opportunity of a lifetime! Everyone knows that being the baby got you actual treats and not murky pseudo food made from mixing sand with water and potato peels. Plus you got to hog everyone’s attention and act like a damsel in distress, how could I have possibly said no to that? If Kenny Rodgers had taught me anything is that “you gotta know when to hold down”, I certainly didn’t pay attention to the rest of his dripping with wisdom lyrics.

My mother, on the other hand, had a rod and a spoilt child, literally. All she was missing was the “do not spare”. It was the first time in my life I had craved the possession of superpowers. In fact, I went as far as palming the air dramatically; I was aiming for a Piper effect, hoping that I too could freeze time. But alas, my life was certainly not in the realm of “Charmed”. My mother lost her state of the art bedding and couch covers while I lost my love for “cha mama” and “Charmed”.

Netflix has been gracing us with blockbuster after blockbuster lately with films such as “The Old Guard” and “Extraction”. It was therefore no shock when we caught wind of their new project, “Project Power”. Starring film and music industry legend, Jamie Foxx, “Project Power” was a huge success with Netflix fans and the world at large. August 14th marked its release and its reception was as expected, spectacular.

Let us see why this film quaked the film industry and why it is said to be the best blockbuster by Netflix yet.

Storyline

Ordinary people abandoning their mundane day to day activities after acquiring super abilities is no new tale on screen. We marveled at this when we first encountered “Limitless” and we still felt an adrenaline rush when “Lucy” made its way on screen. The fact that so much power was in a puny pill was beyond extraordinary. There are a plethora of things you could do with an unlimited amount of power in a limited amount of time, even if it is just five minutes. Cue in Robin’s lyrics, power.

“Project Power” is set in the buzzing with life city New Orleans at a time where things are a little more advanced. The film begins with a drug deal and one of the dealers happens to be Newt, played by Machine Gun Kelly. An enigmatic distributor is willing to trade his designer drugs for free.

Feeling that the deal is too good to be true, Newt launches a brief interrogation trying to wring information from our mysterious Santa Claus. Because they are drug dealers after all, they wind up taking the free drugs.
These pills are not ordinary pills. As in their name, “power” when consumed, gives you unpredictable heightened abilities that may benefit you immensely or destroy you. It is a gamble; you never quite know what the end result will be, whether your tears will be of joy or impending death. The powers are tied to your genes in that every time you consume them, you come to the same ability. The five minute ultimate power drive is a cause of havoc in New Orleans as more and more people use these drugs craving its powers.

What these power junkies don’t know is that they are being monitored by the creators of the pill. The availability of the drugs is meant to mass test its stability; they want to see how best to improve the drug so that they can sell it as a weapon. Pretty basic bad guy plot. Our guinea pigs are more like sitting ducks just waiting for a Hiroshima and Nagasaki scenario.

Jamie Foxx plays the role of Art, an ex military who gets recruited by a private defense contractor, Teleios. Teleios ran some tests on Art with the aim of creating superpowers. After the colossal of experiments and a breakthrough, Art later winds up having a daughter called Tracy who happens to have innate superpowers stemming from her father’s experimenting days. This remarkable innate ability does not escape Teleios and like the bad guy he is, he goes after the girl. Art, determined to save his daughter and his city, sets out to destroy Teleios but to do this he has to find him first., the guy is like a phantom.

Remember Newt? He eventually pops the pill and morphs into a human inferno. He flashes this ability to Art who tracks him down during his rescuing quest. In an attempt to become even more potent, Newt overdoses on “power” and literally ODs, yes, drug overdose kills him or in Newt’s case, he goes boom. His death paves way for Art to meet Robin (Dominique Fishback), Newt’s cousin, a drug dealer with killer bars and no this is not a superpower, that girl can rap. In the film she has a sick mother and is an aspiring rapper. Her side hustle is a means to an end but she swiftly joins Art in his quest of salvaging the life of his daughter and taking “power” off the streets.

Let’s face it, no bad guy- good guy-contest for power film exists without law enforcement. Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is introduced to the scene during a robbery chase where he happens to pop a pill and becomes a human Kevlar, the guy literally becomes bullet proof. Frank meets Robin and Art in another scene where we encounter Biggie. Biggie happens to be pitching the “power” drug when Art invades his demonstration and confronts him at gun point. Frank intercedes determined to do his job of protecting and serving by diffusing the situation. Somewhere during all the scuffle, Biggie pops a pill. The guy is practically Hulk’s cousin after that.

Frank decides to work together with Art and Robin to put a stop to the madness in the streets of New Orleans but its not an easy task. How do you destroy so much power?

The movie is exhilarating despite its plot being stale. The blockbuster scenes are refreshing and these superpowers have the extraordinary ability of engaging your adrenaline. We also get to see an unorthodox bond between a cop, an ex military and a teenage drug dealer with big dreams. There is also the devotion of Art towards his daughter Tracy. All in all, there is nothing like a good vs evil premise with heightened abilities involved.

The power abilities in the film stem from animals funnily enough; frogs, chameleons, the wolverine, pistol shrimp etc. The truth is, even though you never know what power you will possess, the thrill of being a potent being for as little time as five minutes is extremely tempting. It’s bliss.
Fun fact about pistol shrimps, they are one of the most powerful creatures alive. Watch the film to find out who has that creature’s particular power!

Directors, producer, writer, reception

The film was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The screenwriter is none other than Mattson Tomlin with the producer being Eric Newman.

The film spurred up some mixed feelings from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 62% while Metacritic gave it a 51%. Some felt the film had an overdone plot while others found its depiction intriguing. Here is a review from a major critic, Firstpost;

“It is clear that Netflix wants to establish itself as the new home of blockbuster. Truth is its executives or perhaps its algorithm could use a dose of power to churn out some better movies.”

Personally, “Project Power” is worth the couch time, especially when you need to feel invincible.

So, who knew Machine Gun Kelly’s real name is actually Colson Baker? For some reason I always thought he had hip parents who happened to name him MGK. You have to admit, it would have been a hell of a name.


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