Upgrade is rousing, low-brow, sci-fi trash. It plays dumb, dazzles the viewer with gruesome violence, but delivers the goods in the end. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good cyborg film. This is a cheaply made release from Blumhouse, but the lack of funds has lead to structural ingenuity in the writing. Here the upgrade is just a computer chip. It interfaces between hero, Grey Trace’s brain stem, and broken back. He can talk to it. Conversation between man and machine is the hook.
It takes you on a ride.
The fresh approach in this film is the way the upgrade supplements Grey Trace’s confidence and ambitions. It allows us to sympathize with a thinly drawn character because the protagonist himself is only a passenger in his body. The machine, known as STEM is a physical middleman and assistant to his host, played by Logan Marshall-Green. This concept makes for some wildly original action scenes that are motivated purely by STEM’s character. A word of warning – this is a hard edged action film with intense violence. It is not whimiscal, it is not for kids. It will make grown-men gasp.
Get ready for Déjá Vu Again.
You may know Marshall-Green as that asshole from Prometheus who looks like Tom Hardy. Strangely, Hardy will be in Venom later this year giving a similar “action-hero-passenger” performance. From the look of the trailers we have a fantasy/sci-fi theme-battle shaping up. I haven’t seen the likes of this since Dark City and The Matrix told the same story in two different genres. I’m willing to place my bet on Upgrade being the better film. For fans of b-movies and cyborgs – this one is a MUST WATCH.