Forbidden Power

It takes a certain kind of movie to quote Abraham Lincoln as an alien creature hurtles toward the earth. In fact, through narration and on-screen text, Forbidden Power, directed by Paul Kyriazi, makes liberal use of quotes lifted straight from an inspirational speaker’s PowerPoint presentation. While this might seem like a superficial observation, it’s indicative of the film having something to say, but not having the wherewithal to say it itself.

The premise is made of sturdy storytelling material. A young man living a stagnant life, George (Lincoln Bevers), meets a beautiful, exotic woman, Veronica (Nasanin Nuri), and they end up sleeping together. When George wakes up, she’s gone, but he finds that his mind and body have received a massive jump-start. As he enjoys the fruits of Veronica’s sexually transmitted lifeforce, he discovers there’s a cult surrounding Veronica, whose members have also been graced with her “blessing.” Their motives are initially unclear, but they are a cult, so it’s safe to say they aren’t gathering on Saturdays for pottery classes. With the cult actively trying to recruit him, George finds himself deep into a 50,000-year-old conspiracy that begins with the destruction of the Statue of Liberty—not that one, but the smaller one in Vegas.  

“As he enjoys the fruits of Veronica’s sexually transmitted lifeforce, he discovers there’s a cult…”

For a movie this mindless and pulpy, it has remarkably little energy or the buoyant self-awareness of other like films. The actors actively appear bored and they deliver their dialogue precisely the way it was written: stiffly. The flirtatious encounters between George and Veronica, which are meant to be the thematic keystones of the movie, have all the chemistry of a high school science class in south Texas when it’s snowing outside—that’s zero, for those unfamiliar.

The action is awkwardly choreographed and, for some reason, primarily consists of bar fights, restaurant fights, and café fights—wherever there’s affordable dining, there’s fights. At one point, George goes to a dojo to learn karate and hone his newfound abilities. The class ends with the instructor telling him, in so many words, “karate’s great and all, but what you need is a gun.” This lack of internal logic and narrative aimlessness plagues the film from the outset, making it impossible to take the film’s events seriously.

All of this comes together to create something that’s unwatchable at its worst and a curiosity at its best. In regard to the latter, there’s a moment in the film when a character is incapacitated by a bedsheet. You can’t take your eyes off the screen—not because it’s a riveting sequence, but for the same reason, you might watch a mosquito fly helplessly into a clean window for an hour and a half. There’s a hypnotic mediocrity to Forbidden Power, but I can’t recommend giving yourself over to it willingly. Watching the mosquito might be the way to go.

Forbidden Power (2018) Directed by Paul Kyriazi. Written by Paul Kyriazi. Starring Lincoln Bevers, Nasanin Nuri, Hannah Janssen, Harry Mok, Eric Stayberg, Charles Leggett, Gina Su, Ben Leiataua, Ray Simon, Hugo Miranda Vergara, Candice Oftebro, Nathan Le Blanc, Rich E. Nestor, Scott Milburn, Ray Hopper, Janine Avanti, Kaiya Gray.

1.5 out of 5

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