Project Power review – micro-dose superpowers in New Orleans | Film

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A punchy, likable trio of performances are the point of this superhero action-thriller with energy to burn. It’s from directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost (who made the documentary Catfish before moving into commercial features) and looks like it’s based on a graphic novel, but actually no: this is an original script by Mattson Tomlin, who is now working with Matt Reeves on the new Batman starring Robert Pattinson. The setting is New Orleans five minutes into the future, and the city has a very scary and specific drug problem: capsules that give you a superpower, but you can never be sure exactly which superpower, and it only lasts five minutes.

A shadowy cartel is using young people to sell this merchandise on the streets, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Frank, one of the city cops desperately fighting back. He is using as an informant one of these pusher kids: high-schooler and would-be rapper Robin – an engaging performance from Dominique Fishback. But more than that, to the horror of his superiors, Frank is kind of drinking the Kool-Aid – or rather he’s secretly taking the drug himself to get some strength up for his battle with the bad guys. Meanwhile, a mysterious ex-special forces guy, Art, played with some droll, negligent style by Jamie Foxx, is waging his own war against this narcotic, called Project Power.

This enjoyable picture riffs amiably on the Incredible Hulk, Johnny Storm, Wolverine and even Frozone from The Incredibles, and there is a very sympathetic father-daughter-type chemistry between Foxx and Fishback. Tomlin avoids cliche by not having any jazz in his movie set in New Orleans (we see some trad-jazz graffiti here and there), and he gives Frank a line to show the people of New Orleans have not forgotten or forgiven the political establishment over Hurricane Katrina.

Source: The Guardian
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