Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Project Power Fight Scenes Have Way Less VFX Than You Think

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Project Power

Netflix’s Project Power finally landed on the streaming service, giving movie audiences the chance to check out Jamie Foxx, Dominique Fishback and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as street-tough characters matching wits – and physicalities – with criminals who are hopped up on a unique drug. In Project Power, the drug in question gives the user a super power, but only for 5 minutes. Gordon-Levitt plays a New Orleans cop trying to slow these pill-popping criminals down, and as a result, he has to fight some crazy, crazy people.

We had a chance to talk Project Power with the cast, and I asked Joseph Gordon-Levitt what it looked like on set to physically try and take down an “invisible” man, or a guy who could stretch and bend like Mister Fantastic from The Fantastic Four. The actor gives a great answer, while also pointing out that the movie doesn’t lean too hard on visual effects. Watch Gordon-Levitt’s explanation here:

It helps that Project Power, whenever possible, pulls off its super-charged individuals with old-school practical effects. Co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish) easily could have saturated each scene with VFX… and they do need to rely on some effects to work make a man who bursts into flames, and a woman who can exude icy temperatures.

But in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s fight scenes, in particular, the movie relies on pure stunt work and camera sorcery to make the powers seems a grounded and credible as possible. Except when Gordon-Levitt has to get shot in the face. That’s definitely not a practical effect.

JGL gets shot

We are thankful that Netflix has been producing these action thrillers during a time when our movie theaters have been closed. The Summer Blockbuster season that’s usually filled with sequels and superhero efforts has been reduced to ash. But the streaming giant has provided ample action thrills with movies such as Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction, and The Old Guard with Charlize Theron.

If you liked those films, you need to give Project Power a try. It feels like the kind of late-summer genre exercise that’s carried by its excellent concept, and a pair of star-wattage turns from Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Also, Project Power continues to shine a light on the talented Dominique Fishback, who’s about to explode on the scene. If you haven’t yet, watch the trailer for the upcoming Judas and the Black Messiah, which co-stars Fishback. That looks like it has the potential to be an Oscar contender.

Project Power is available to stream on Netflix right now. In the meantime, movies seem to be trying to come back to theaters. Keep an eye on our Movie Release Calendar to see what new titles are attempting wide releases. Also, bookmark our Stay In & Stream section to keep up with the latest streaming news.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.