Magic pills unleash people’s inner superpowers in this gritty and surprisingly gruesome action thriller from Netflix.
The movie Starz Joseph Gordon Levittown and Jamie Foxx. Levitt is a cop in New Orleans working drug cases and trying to figure out the source of the new super drug. It seems everyone has an innate super power and these glowing pills unleash your inner power for five minutes. Or they just make you blow up. Several times people take pills and explode into buckets of blood and viscera.
Jamie Foxx is the mysterious loner who is somehow mixed up with the pills, but he has his own agenda. He beats and brutalizes his way through the New Orleans underworld tracking down the pills.
The connection between these two is Robin, played by Dominique Fishback. She is a street kid who sells pills to help out her mom. Foxx thinks she can lead him to the supplier, so he kidnaps her and is genuinely frightening in a scene where he interrogates her in the trunk of his car. It’s apparently more frightening for the audience than for Robin because within five minutes she’s forgotten about the abduction and becomes his plucky side kick.
The relationship between Foxx and Fishback is really nice. Their chemistry is solid and the father daughter bond they have works. The problem is the movie skips the building of that relationship. He goes from terrorizing her to being buddies in no time at all. It’s jarring. Watching it felt like ten minutes of character development scenes were cut to get to the action. The same thing happens when Gordon-Levitt and Foxx meet. They go from enemies to partners in the least convincing way possible. The movie wants payoffs without taking the time to do proper setups.
The action here is good for the most part. Foxx faces off against someone who can control fire early on. It’s a genuinely cool sequence. There’s a great chase scene involving a man who’s power is that he is essentially a chameleon. His body is constantly changing colors as he races through the streets to avoid the cops. It’s a cool idea with a solid execution. Then there’s a chase through a club where someone takes too many pills and turns into a cgi monstrosity that’s is just plain silly.
There is a shady and corporation and some corrupt police, but these are just cliches used to justify action scenes. In the same way that the main through line of rescuing the kidnapped daughter is just a worn out cliche that only serves to make the extreme violence feel more acceptable.
The movie almost coasts by the problems on the charm of the three leads. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx, and Dominique Fishback are all great performers, and their charm is almost enough to make up for the movies failings.
I’m the end it’s a middle of the road movie. It’s not great, but there are worse movies for your Friday night. Kind of my cup of tea. B