Movie Review: Upgrade (2018)

Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (writer of Saw, Indisious) comes the sci-fi revenge film Upgrade. In a digital world, where electronic implants and self driving cars are the norm, old-school mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green, aka not Tom Hardy) is left a quadriplegic after a car accident, and is implanted with a small computer chip which can control his body. Seeking answers, the implant, STEM, can take control of Grey’s body when granted permission, often with lethally efficient results.

+ Marshall-Green is enjoyable as he disocvers the way STEM works as we, the audience, do. He does genuinely seem confused as to the way his own body is moving at times, which I imagine is a tricky expression to convey as you still hit your movement marks. The emotion that comes from the accident Trace goes through is at times hard to watch, thanks again to Marshall-Green’s abilities
+ the very dark comedy which comes from the point above is great, before the mood whiplashes back down. The cockiness that comes from essentially being one step ahead of your opponents in a fight is on full display, and Marshall-Green makes it work superbly
+ maybe I am just misremembering the advertisements, but I thought this was billed as being ultra violent. It may be well known that I love a spot of gore, but I am pleased this didn’t go so far as to become a one note cliche. That said, there are one or two moments that may shock you with just how suddenly things escalate
+ I really liked the way the film was shot. Lots of photo-esque landscapes and some claustrophobic inner city locales make for a varied, but beautiful film. Perhaps not the same level, this reminded me of Dredd

upgrade_2
Grey Trace (Logan Marhsall-Green) is an analogue man in a digital world.

– the plot itself is relatively standard as far as revenge films go. You’ll potentially be able to pick where the bulk of the story is going from the opening act,
– there are a few unanswered questions that seem to simply boil down to the film not knowing how to answer them. One character in particular is set up to be some major player, then leaves after just a few minutes with a frustratingly cryptic quip

> there are other characters in the movie, don’t get me wrong, but they are nothing to write home about, and don’t really qualify as anything important. This is Logan Marhsall-Green’s movie

Should you see this film: This was a standard revenge film plot in many ways, but Logan Marshall-Green makes the role his own, and the few mini twists and turns along the way are enough to keep things fresh. I enjoyed this, and I think fans of sci-fi or revenge films will too.

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