Upgrade: (Spoiler Free) Review by Kush Hayes
“Im tired of movies based on Star Wars, or comic books, or remakes, etc”
If youve said something along those lines even in the past three weeks youve got to get out and see Upgrade, the new movie produced out of Australia and acquired by Blumhouse.
The movie is quick and to the point in a future that doesnt feel too far away, but doesnt seem just on our heels yet. Nearly everything is automated now and operated by a computer thats just awaiting a voice command from its human counterpart.
When we meet our protagonist, Grey Trace,play by Logan Marshall-Green hes an unemployeed gear head, who works strictly in analog. His wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) is the bread winner and works for a major tech company, so naturally the house is wired for automation. Grey finishes work on an old Firebird and asks his wife to follow him to the client so he can simply get a ride back home.
The client is a beyond level genius who says our future is his present and seems strange that he would casually just show these two random people his new future tech. On the way home, our favorite couples automated car runs an error and theres an accident where upon crashing a car full of future super villains out of an 80s cartoon and Asha is murdered in front of Grey who is left a quadriplegic.
Three months pass and the cops with all the future tech explain to Grey theyve got nothing for him. Our films detective is played by Betty Gabriel who at this point is an official Blumhouse player, having been in the third Purge and last years Get Out with a role in Unfriended 2 coming up later this year. And Shes great, you wish the movie gave you more of her. In fact without details I hated how her character is handled by the end.
Thats one of this movies greatest strengths, leaving you wanting more. The movies runtime is a glorious 95 mins with credits. It takes you straight into the story and skips over major exposition and then it ends. Its an open ending, and I hope they keep it closed, I think this is a perfect movie that doesnt need to be another franchise. This review could learn from our movies run time as well…
Once Grey decides all help is useless he decides to end it and is put in the hospital again where our films genius comes in and gives him the pitch to become the 6 million dollar man. Grey agrees and as you know from the trailer, it works. In fact it works a little too good. Once STEM is installed in Greys spiine, the program evolves and has full control of Grey and his body.
This is when the movie begins. We go on a revenge mission. Grey and STEM learn from each other, Grey learns more from STEM than the other way around. And as they go one, they face troubles, with real consequences. While Grey is pretty much bionic because of STEM, he is still in a normal human body. Bullets and knives and all things that can cause harm to you and me are still an issue. Gravity and falling on your face, still a thing. However when we get into these bad ass fights, no one punches there very little collateral damage. No one goes through a wall, or a window, or etc. Its quite refreshing to see a movie with rules to it. As we go further in the movie, as you can imagine, things go awry and not everyone is telling us everything, including twists that I thought was going right, but then cut left hard.
Our director, Leigh Whannell, uses very little CGI, but what is there is clean. This movie has great angles and camera work. As the movies writer as well, he has a clear vision of how he wants hallways to look, how our hero walks once hes been giving his cybernetic implants, as well as how he should react when his body commits acts of violence he isnt responsible for.
Lets not leave out thoughts about Logan Marshall-Green, I would love to know what he did to not just prepare for his role as a man who is paralyzed from the neck down as well as his fight scenes in this movie. Greys fights are easy to compare to the kitchen scene from Evil Dead 2 with Bruce Campbell but just as entertaining if not improved upon. His interactions with STEM are fantastic especially when you realize STEM is never an on screen character, merely a voice in his head placed in the scene with ADR. Breaking things down to initials, LMGs character Grey, goes on a full arch in this movie and you want to see him achieve his objective.
The movie is light on profanity, and the violence that is there is gruesome, but not explotive or gory for the sake of gore. Youre given flashes of gruesome so your mind can recognize the events of this film are serious despite a comic book premise.
I absolutely enjoyed this movie and the more I thought about its originality after leaving the theater, my enjoyment of it increased. This is definitely one of my favorite movies of 2018 to date. I applaud Blumhouse for recognizing the greatness in this and getting it in front of audiences.
5 out of 6 blueberries.
Have you seen Upgrade? What did you think about it?
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