Review of 'Upgrade'

upgrade.jpg In the near future, technology is everywhere. Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) lives with his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) in a heavily automated house. After visiting Grey's client Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), maker of a highly advanced computer chip, the couple are involved in a horrific car accident after which a group of thugs kill Asha and seriously injure Grey, whose spine is severed. In hospital Detective Cortez (Betty Gabriel) informs Grey, now a quadriplegic, that the police have no idea who attacked him and his wife. Keen approaches Grey to offer him a chance at recovery by implanting the computer chip though swears him to secrecy. Keen is a man of his word as Grey now finds himself able to move without any problems. The chip, calling itself “Stem” (voiced by Simon Maiden), soon starts talking to Grey and they work to track down his assailants. When they come across the baddies, it gets tricky and Stem asks to take over Grey's body which he does and promptly performs super-human feats as he quickly dispatches the bad men in a spray of blood. Grey begins to like his new helper but as the bodies begin to stack up he begins to think twice…

This is a massively dark action-comedy with huge helpings of bloody, graphic violence that had me frequently looking away to avoid the worse bits. “Upgrade” is a story of revenge gone wrong in a world where technology shows little compassion for humanity with an ending that is hugely ironic (“Wizard of Oz” this ain't, there is NO place like home…or any chance of getting there either). There is some wonderful banter between Grey and Stem as they bludgeon their way through bodies in their investigation but it quickly turns even more dark, if you can believe it. The effects are great as is the choreography with a great deal of imagination used in the fight sequences that are dynamic and utterly visceral in their violence.

Not recommended for kids…or squeamish adults.

A dark story that perhaps pushes the violence a tad too far. I would compare this to another film I recently watched Venom in that we have yet another human whose body is occupied by another entity, “Upgrade” is far darker and violent with none of the comic-like violence in Venom which is, for me, the better film. Still, I was surprised by Upgrade in that there was more to it than simply violence but in the end, the violence prevails…

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-01-29

Directed by: Leigh Whannell

Studio: Goalpost Pictures

Year: 2018

Length: 100 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure