Upgrade was such a surprise: fresh, unique, and a completely entertaining ride. It felt like an episode of Black Mirror on steroids with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. Led by Logan Marshall-Green, who my friends lovingly refer to as "the poor man's Tom Hardy," this futuristic man versus technology cautionary tale manages to pull off a well-balanced campy humor with a gripping action sequences and an interesting plot. It pulls from a lot of bits and pieces of sci-fi you're familiar with, but presents it in a new and thrilling way.
Without getting too far into the details, because I want to steer very clear from spoiler territory, (you deserve to see this knowing as little as possible about the major plot points) the film is set in a technologically advanced world, where a reluctant Grey Trace still likes to work with his hands sans computers. He rebuilds classic cars for a living, and manages to sell one to the very strange tech inventor, Eron. While at his home to hand over the car, he and his wife are shown a new tech implant called STEM which can significantly enhance the human body. But on the way home with his wife in a self-driving car, they crash, are brutally mugged leaving his wife dead and him a quadriplegic. From there, as you can guess, he gets this STEM technology implanted and seeks revenge on the people behind the mugging...
Upgrade comes from the same producers as several breakout horror movies, most notably last year's hit Get Out. You definitely get a touch of that genre in the violent action sequences. There are some shocking horror-inspired moments that somehow work within the tone of this film. The premise of the movie with new technology and enhanced body functions sets itself up for some really inventive car chases and fight scenes. It also allows Marshall-Green to really work his acting chops and he does so very well. The first time he allows STEM to take over his body is one of the highlights of the film.
As I mentioned, I didn't expect to enjoy this move as much as I did. The acting, cool camera work, action scenes, sarcastic, quippy humor and unexpected twists and turns all come together to make what could've been just another derivative sci-fci action thriller into a movie really that stands out.
Brit's pro tip: See this with friends. You'll want to talk about it after!