In the near future, a quadriplegic is implanted with a computer chip
that fixes his body, but also gives him the tools he needs for revenge.
Written and Directed by Leigh Whannell
Starring Logan Marshall-Green, Simon Maiden, Melanie Vallejo, Betty Gabriel, Benedict Hardie, Harrison Gilbertson
Upgrade is a thought-provoking film. It shows you the likely direction that technology is heading, but it doesn't tell you whether our dependence on that technology is good or bad. The film lets you decide for yourself by showing you a futuristic world through the lens of a man who hates and avoids technology. But when Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is paralyzed and his wife murdered, he finds himself dependent on an experimental but highly intelligent computer chip called Stem (Simon Maiden) to not only operate his body but to help him find the men who destroyed his entire life. And boy, does he go through them like a ball through bowling pins.
Logan Marshall-Green delivers a fantastic performance as Grey, playing a likable protagonist whose forced to live in a world that left him behind in a technological sense. His interactions with Stem and the subsequent fight scenes are not only expertly choreographed, but they are surprisingly hilarious. I love how the film gets progressively darker, to the point that the third act is downright bone-chilling, almost flicking Upgrade into the realm of horror and capped with a crazy twist ending that will blow you away.
Upgrade is simple but effective, delivering a crazy ride but somehow managing to stay grounded. The cast is great and mostly made up of unknowns. Leigh Whannell is a hell of a storyteller, from Saw to Insidious to Upgrade. He clearly knows how to tap into peoples' primal fears, whether it be claustrophobia, ghosts, or technology taking over the world. I highly enjoyed Upgrade, and believe it to be arguably the most realistic depiction of the not-so-distant future ever put to film.
Blumhouse productions has become a borderline juggernaut in the film industry, churning out movie after movie. What’s great is that they are all pretty much horror films, but they understand the depth that this genre can have. Upgrade just released and I have to say, it belongs in the eclectic group of films that have come out prior. You have Get Out, The Purge, Insidious, Sinister, etc.
Upgrade is probably the most action-based of the films that Blumhouse has produced. I enjoyed pretty much every second of this film, and fell in love with the main character in the very first scene. Grey is a salt of the earth kind of guy who wants to earn his shit, and not let computers suggest what to eat. But, our setting is the near future, with technology running everything. Grey’s wife is very involved in the technological progression of this near future, making her and Grey a fascinating couple. There are very early circumstances that change the course of this movie drastically, causing the latter 45 minutes to be one hell of a roller coaster. The action sequences are praiseworthy throughout, and I honestly laughed more than I thought I would. More than I should too...
The fear for me was real in this movie, just as all Blumhouse movies have that way about them. It’s kind of like the TV series, Black Mirror. Those things can happen down the road if we aren’t careful about our progression as a society. At the end of the day, you really are a fan of Blumhouse and what they do, or you aren’t, and this is another solid piece to add to that resume.