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The One Project Power Scene That Makes Us Love Jamie Foxx Even More

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

While many actors stick to one or two genres, Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx has no limits. Look at his filmography. In it, you'll find biopics, musicals, gritty crime dramas, slapstick comedies, superhero blockbusters, animated kids' dramas, pulpy action thrillers, and everything in between. He can do anything.

Even more impressive? In Project Power, he does almost all of it in a single scene. It begins like this: Foxx's character, Art (who's also known as the Major), has been hunting the criminals who hawk a pill called Power, which gives users superpowers for five minutes at a time. During this journey, he crosses paths with a suspicious young dealer named Robin and tussles with more than a few superpowered crooks. When one such encounter leaves the Major wounded, Robin takes him to the vet's office where her mom works and patches him up. What begins as an amateur surgery ends up being an honest heart-to-heart that brings both characters closer together, while also revealing their innermost hopes and dreams.

The scene isn't just a crucial respite from the rest of Project Power's hard-hitting, fast-paced action. It's also a great showcase for Foxx and his young co-star, Dominique Fishback. Over the course of just a few minutes, Foxx shows how wide his range really is, and proves why he's one of the most talented and versatile actors working today.

It's how he's not afraid to speak his mind

Jame Foxx has never been shy about sharing his political opinions. In June 2020, Foxx joined a Black Lives Matter rally in San Francisco, taking the mic during the event to rail against police brutality. He called for justice for Breonna Taylor on his Instagram feed, advocated for stricter gun control on CNN, and wore a Trayvon Martin t-shirt to the BET Awards. Foxx's dedication to social justice causes has affected his career, too, leading him to roles like real-life death row inmate Walter McMillian, who was convicted for a murder he didn't commit, in Just Mercy.

So when the Major tells Robin how American society is designed to keep young women, especially those of color, from succeeding, it's not just the Major speaking. It's Foxx, too. In this scene, Robin tells Art she sells Power because she has no other choice. Her mother has diabetes and needs surgery, and without health insurance, dealing is the only way that Robin can make ends meet. The Major doesn't condemn her for it. He just tells her to fight back. "You're young, you're black, you're a woman," he says. "The system is designed to swallow you whole."

That's Project Power's entire thesis summed up in a couple of sentences. In Project Power, rich elites use the lower class as a testing ground. Sure, thanks to the ability-granting pills, pushers and addicts may get a momentary taste of power. But at the end of the day there's no doubt where the real authority lies.

Project Power's social message is a large part of why Foxx took the part. "Our eyes are open to how the distribution of power can be used in the worst way possible, and can really fracture what we've built," Foxx tells Yahoo Entertainment. Coming from Foxx, those words aren't hollow. The Major means what he says and we believe it, largely because Foxx himself has the record to back that message up.

It's his often-forgotten sense of humor

These days, Jame Foxx has received so much attention for his intense dramatic roles, his turns as a gun-toting action hero, and his extracurricular pursuits that many younger fans don't know that he started as a comedian. In 1991, Foxx joined the cast of In Living Color, a sketch comedy show with a predominantly black cast. In 1993, he launched his first stand-up comedy special, Straight from the Foxhole. Two more arrived in the early '00s. In 1996, Foxx got his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show, which ran for five seasons.

So, yeah, Foxx is a funny guy, and his comedic chops are on full display during the Major's discussion with Robin. When she tells him that she wants to be a rapper, the former Marine begins teasing her. Their banter is already pretty endearing, but it gets better when Robin decides to call Art's bluff. "Give me a word," she says. "I'm gonna go off the top." In response, The Major throws "feline" at Robin. She handles the freestyle with ease. So he gives her another: "Seismograph." And another: "Antibiotic." She kills it every time.

It's a funny exchange, and the capper — Art looks at the bottle of antibiotics that inspired his final challenge and exclaims, "This says 'for dogs,'" — is the perfect punchline. It's also the beginning of a major shift in Robin and the Major's relationship. While the two started as antagonists, this scene marks the beginning of an easy friendship that pays off in some big laughs later in the movie.

It's his warmth (and his musical chops)

Finally, it's just plain sweet. In recent years, Jamie Foxx has taken on a sort of paternal screen persona. In Annie, he plays William Stacks, a modern take on the original's Daddy Warbucks. In Pixar's Soul, Foxx voices a music teacher who must prepare new souls for their time on Earth. For his White House Down character, President Sawyer, he looked to Barack Obama. In real life, Foxx co-hosts the game show Beat Shazam with his daughter Corinne, and the two have teamed up for things like Carpool Karaoke and Foxx's directorial debut, the comedy feature All-Star Weekend.

Foxx brings that same energy to this scene. Robin's father isn't in the picture, and Art's missing daughter is a major plot point. As such, it makes sense that they'd fill those roles for each other, and it's hard to mistake the small hint of fatherly pride in the Major's voice when Robin stops rapping. The "Adopt" shirt he's wearing during the scene really drives the point home, too. "That's your power," he tells her. "You take that, you leverage that, you use that to take the system down." That's good advice for someone in Robin's situation, and it feels genuine. At this point in Project Power, we haven't really seen Art and his daughter together, but we have seen Foxx with his in real life on TV. It's hard not to draw on Foxx's public persona to fill in the blanks.

Same goes for Art's positive appraisal of Robin's musical skills. See, in addition to everything else, Foxx is an accomplished R&B artist who has released five albums and has two number one hits to his name — "Blame It," from his 2008 album Intuition, and "Fall for Your Type" from 2010's Best Night of My Life, both of which topped Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart. As a result, Art's gushing review of Robin's freestyling has the air of authority. When it comes to music, Foxx knows what he's talking about.

It's how he shifts so effortlessly between all these different modes

Foxx's background as a comedian, a musician, an activist, and a parent all inform this scene, but it's not just that Foxx has had an impressive and varied career. It's that he's able to call on all of his different gifts when needed, blending them together so effortlessly. During this scene, Foxx weaves lighthearted comedy, social commentary, and fatherly affection together, switching between tones with almost every line — sometimes, within a single sentence.This never feels jarring. Instead, somehow, all the pieces fit together, giving the Major a rich inner life that Project Power's more action-based scenes only hint at.

Even more remarkably, this scene manages to draw on other parts of Foxx's public persona, too. When the Major references his time in the military and admits that killing people "tripped [him] up," it recalls Foxx's action-heavy parts in movies like Jarhead, Law Abiding Citizen, Baby Driver, and Sleepless. Art's entire situation — that of a regular man caught up in an increasingly complex criminal conspiracy — echoes his Oscar-nominated turn in Collateral.

None of this is to say that Foxx is repeating himself in Project Power. Like every character Foxx plays, the Major is a unique creation, and you'll feel for him whether you've seen the actor before or not. You'll also be impressed by just how much range Foxx shows in just a single scene. Whether you're a newcomer or a decades-long fan, this scene proves it: Jamie Foxx is very, very easy to love. That's his power.