Violent, near-future sci-fi from writer-director Leigh Whannell (co-writer of the Saw and Insidious series). Grey (Logan Marshall-Green, The Invitation) is a quadriplegic given a new lease on life by an experimental computer chip implant that helps manoeuvre his body. As Grey sets out to avenge his wife's murder, he discovers the Stem implant gives him new abilities - but at the cost of complete control of his actions. Midnighters audience award-winner at SXSW 2018.
For a movie such as this, it seems to be as good a time as any. With so much real life debate and controversy over artificial intelligence being brought into the world, Upgrade represents itself as a fun voice of reason on why there should be limits.
Set in a not too distant future of Alexa styled cars that drive themselves and a lead character that’s smart enough to distrust such technology is a film that does pretty good overall in establishing itself. Sure it steps into a lot of overly familiar territory when coming to the revenge side of the plot, but that’s simply outweighed by a great deal of highly entertaining action and impressive visual effects. On top of that, from head to toe this film has a dark, unruly presence that blissfully separates itself from being sold to the masses as just another PG-13 action flick.
Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Happy Death Day) steers from its usual M.O. of freak show horrors and into a more sci-fi action thriller vibe. However, staying in the production company’s good graces, this film offers a ton of blood and gore in many over the top and humorous scenes. From having director Leigh Whannell on board after his huge involvement in the Saw franchise, it’s safe to say he knows his way around turning such violence into an icing on the cake.
Logan Marshall-Green, who I must say looks remarkably like Tom Hardy, leads this gritty John Wick meets Black Mirror styled roller coaster with absolute perfection. He especially nails his autopilot fight scenes when controlled by Stem, his AI implant. With that being said, he and Simon Maiden (voice of Stem) share some of funniest lines to offer, much deserved as they bond on such a grim journey.
What starts off a little cliche as many revenge tales do, this film eventually picks itself up and runs with its merits. Blumhouse really know how to make the best with a small budget.
Releases: 31st May 2018
Rating: R16 - Contains graphic violence, horror, offensive language & content that may disturb
Duration: 100 minutes
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Rosco Campbell, Richard Cawthorne, Michael M. Foster, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie, Clayton Jacobson
Director: Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3)