Project Power

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Project Power Movie Poster Image
Action film has extreme violence, compelling characters.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "bulls--t," "hell," and "goddamn."


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDarnell2020 August 24, 2020

Never Boring

Action pack graphical NO NUDITY (hooray!) movie that might be a little much for kids 13 and under. This movie definitely kept us awake especially my husband who... Continue reading
Adult Written byBenjamin Blackstad September 5, 2020

An Interesting Concept

Project Power is a Netflix original movie. The casting choice is just meh. I could honestly care less about the casting selection. But that is not the main poin... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bypenut August 14, 2020

very violent but no nudity

very good movie protecting daughter has positive messages all around it.
Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2021


This movie is great. there is extreme violence. and language, and the whole concept is about a drug. best for teens, or maybe very mature tweens.

What's the story?

In PROJECT POWER, there's a new drug on the streets of New Orleans that gives people individualized superpowers. High schooler Robin (Dominique Fishback) is one of a small army of dealers handling the drug, a means for her to make money to pay for her mom's diabetes prescriptions. Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a local cop who tries to help Robin out when he can. That's only one of many rules he's willing to break to try to get to the source of the new drug and cut off the flow to his city. When former soldier Art (Jamie Foxx) kidnaps Robin to try to get information about the drug, Frank is fast on their trail. He doesn't know the reason Art is also looking for the drug lords, nor why Robin suddenly seems to want to help Art. But the three of them will need to collaborate to meet their goals -- and to survive.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Project Power has a pro-drug or anti-drug message. Does it glamorize substance use at all?

  • Frank convinces his boss to let him break some rules to bring down the villains. Can you think of a time where breaking the rules was justified in your own life?

  • Art tells Robin that the "system" is "designed to swallow" young Black women. What do you think he means by that? Do you agree?

  • If you had a superpower, what do you think it would be?

  • Do you know the history of Henrietta Lacks? Where could you find out more information?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate