A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teens will benefit from positive affirmation and parental support. They're still children, even if they sometimes make serious mistakes. Sometimes good people make bad decisions or have to do bad things for good reasons. Loyalty, teamwork, and bravery are on display.
Positive Role Models
Frank is a good cop willing to break a few rules in name of justice. Art is a father broken by kidnapping of his daughter, is on a violent mission to find her. He inspires Robin to make the most of her talent, even though he says "system" is "designed to swallow" her whole as a young Black woman. Robin puts herself at risk, engages in illegal activities so she can buy food and prescription medicine for her ailing mother. She deals drugs but doesn't take them because she once saw a woman overdose. She struggles to stay focused in school, where her White male teacher treats her disrespectfully. A powerful new drug is considered dangerous, but even the good guys use it to "level the playing field." Drug manufacturers are willing to use people as "lab rats" to perfect and mass produce/market their formula. The government and armed forces seem to be conspiring in human testing as well.
Violence & Scariness
Constant fighting involves fists, knives, guns, scissors, explosions, random heavy objects, and more. Noses get broken, fingers get shot off, bodies are frozen, and dozens of people are killed at close range and in gory detail. The power drug either kills people on contact or converts them into temporarily invincible beings who burst into flames, whose bones can break apart and turn into weapons, who grow exponentially, who can withstand grave wounds, who can make themselves invisible, and so on. Art kidnaps teenage Robin, puts her in his trunk, threatens her with a gun, threatens to kill her mother, and more. Art's daughter, Tracy, is being held hostage as her powers are harvested.
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Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "bulls--t," "hell," and "goddamn."
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Products & Purchases
New Orleans and its sports teams are featured. Batman and Robin. 7-11, Church's Chicken seen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Premise centers on a powerful new drug being manufactured, sold, marketed to other countries, dealt on city streets. One song on the soundtrack mentions "weed" and "dope." Drunk man on street appears to be drinking a beer out of a paper bag.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Project Power is very violent from beginning to end, but it also has messages about loyalty, treamwork, and bravery that could resonate with teens. The premise of the film centers on a powerful new drug that's considered very dangerous, yet even the "good guys" use it to "level the playing field." Despite the potential glamorization around the superhuman powers the drug offers, the pills are also depicted as exceptionally dangerous: Some people die on contact or first use. The drug manufacturers see its users as "lab rats," and a teen dealer doesn't use it herself because she once saw someone overdose. Violent action scenes show people being killed, including by the main characters, in all manner of ways, using all kinds of weapons, often in gory detail. A teenager is kidnapped, put in a trunk, and threatened with a gun; her mother's life is also threatened in order to get information out of her. Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "bulls--t," "hell," and "goddamn." Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a slick, suspenseful, big screen-style action film that seems primed for a franchise. The superpower storyline allows for a parade of visually explosive effects, and the tale's compelling characters with real-world problems add appeal. Embedded in these characters, in turn, are broader themes about the obstacles that Black people -- and especially young Black women -- face in America. Two young Black female characters ultimately save the day, and Project Power references Henrietta Lacks, the Black woman whose cells were involuntarily harvested and used in medical research for decades.
Despite more than a few implausible sequences, Fishback is very credible as Robin, playing the teen as tough and brave, yet profoundly vulnerable and nearly defeated. She's the real discovery in this film, though Foxx is solid as the flawed hero and Gordon-Levitt adds humor, including a funny running joke of him practicing his "tough guy" lines, Clint Eastwood-style, in the mirror. The setting is another character: New Orleans is treated as a bit of an underdog that needs standing up for, its past devastating floods earning repeated mention. "You know what happened last time we were counting on guys in suits to look out for New Orleans," Frank quips at one point. He's not wrong.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.