Words Glenn Blomfield
Upgrade is an adrenaline filled candy-munching movie. A mixed bag of shake & bake action sci-fi, that’s rarely seen these days. Set in a future, where technology can be used to enhance the human body, actually, in this instance, to enhance the body, its hope to be a better fighting, killing machine.
The film has a love affair with the 80’s style action films. Movies like Robo Cop, Terminator, and Universal Soldier for example. The basic premise of the story is, Grey, played by Logan Marshall-Green, prefers his life simpler without all this high tech computer technology. His world is tortuously turned on its head, his wife is murdered, and he wants to seek revenge. There is one big hang up, from the incident that led to his wife death, Grey ended up as a paraplegic, paralysed from the chest down. An experimental Artificial Intelligent computer chip implanted into his spine and nervous system called STEM, from a rather mysterious source Billionaire Inventor, gives him his mobility back. He now has the opportunity for revenge, and kick some serious ass.
Upgrade, has a slow build, then punches in with the action and rather, violent fight scenes. The camera work is very clever, fresh feeling to its movements. I will call it a ‘gimmick’, but not for the reason that its a cheap trick, more in the terms that the ‘gimmick’ is what makes the action unique and that what is make the film unique.
Upgrade is the small indie film that can, punching above its budget weight, at times you can see behind the production design cracks, but it’s the action scenes where Upgrade excels. Directed and written by Leigh Whannell, who is better known as the creator and writer of the Saw franchise horrors, he is also the writer of the Insidious horror films. He has his finger on the pulse of ‘throw back horror’ and action films of the 80’s and 70’s. Upgrade certainly has that influence on its proud sleeve.
Overall, Upgrade is a very cool action sci fi film with a horror thriller film twist. It can feel uneven, with the story as compared to the action scenes, but the film does well standing out from the crowd. Definitely worth its entertaining watch and very cool action sequences, and some horroiffic scenes that will make you squirm in your seat.