Upgrade (2018) – Film Review

The star of this film is definitely Logan Marshall-Green who really shines. Though he is many times thought of as a duplicate of Tom Hardy, he shows his range in this film to bring himself to the forefront of being an action star. I haven’t seen enough of a good sample size of his acting ability until now. Though he has had some notable roles, this role has a lot of great character depth and action sequences to shine in. Without his acting you don’t believe him moving like a controlled human.

The story itself is pretty straightforward with an average revenge plot of a killed girlfriend/wife/significant other set in a high tech future where society has evolved to have self driving cars. The short notes on the premise afterward are that this man named Grey and his wife Asha, go to the high tech geniuses home to deliver an antique car he had built for sale for him. The genius character gives this new technology to help Grey walk again, after being paralyzed, which is called STEM. The directing by Leigh Whannell really shines in how he utilizes the camera in not only framing but how he sets it up when there is an action sequence and the actor stays in focus while everything is moving around him. It almost felt like a video game at times.

Stem, he’s got a knife! [calmly] I see that. We have a knife, too.

The film doesn’t feel like its bloated or overdrawn, the budget is tight and used effectively to showcase strong visual effects in the appropriate scenes to showcase that the film is taking place in the future. It also knows when to use real practical effects and the sets that aren’t as challenging to dress up and make to look futuristic as well. Betty Gabriel, who was just famously in another Blumhouse film “Get Out”, has a great role as a cop who is assigned to Grey wife’s murder case. I liked her part in the film, she could have had more depth but her character wasn’t the main focus of the film.

I did like the usage of STEM he was a cool character. The way they level up Grey throughout the film was fun with him being in and out of control of his body with that implant. The action scenes were quite inventive and the action is superb. I would definitely recommend anyone interested to see it. The ending while abrupt and powerful left me with mixed emotions. I wanted more from this world but maybe we were only allowed to see some of it.


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