Upgrade flew under the radar, but it’s a dope sci-fi action thriller.
I was thoroughly impressed by Upgrade. I am a huge sci-fi fan, and this movie was well written, and the acting was on point. It doesn’t feature any big time names either, but I liked that going into this one. When I saw the trailer, I knew I wanted to see it, but I was not expecting such a good story. I thought to myself “this looks like a better version of Hardcore Henry”. A human augmented with futuristic tech, seeking revenge after he and his wife were brutally attacked is a similar premise, but Hardcore Henry features a video game first person point of view that may give you a headache. I liked Hardcore Henry, but my eyes wanted to bulge out my head watching that one. Upgrade executes much better, and without giving the audience epilepsy. The layered story was impressive, yet harrowing. It speaks to the achievements we can reach with new technological advances, but it also shows the dangers of such advances. There is a scene where Grey, the movie’s main character, is speaking to his wife about humans being replaced by machines one day. There have been several stories and movies that speak to the same theme, and when you look at all the advances that have actually been made, there is definitely truth there. The attack leaves Grey paralyzed, but he is given an opportunity to walk again, if he agrees to be augmented with tech called STEM. STEM’s creator, Eron Keen, tells Grey that he can’t tell anyone that he has this tech inside of him, and that’s where the action takes off. Grey finds out that STEM is sentient, and has the ability to take over his motor functions. Grey decides to go after the men who attacked him and his wife, so you get to see just how far he is willing to go in order to exact his revenge. It’s pretty harrowing to see how Grey uses STEM, and how STEM uses Grey. Watching this movie may make you ask yourself these questions: Would I allow myself to be augmented with tech? How would I use the technology? What would I do if this tech was self-aware?
Upgrade wasn’t a major release, so it didn’t receive a lot of promotion, and ended up being short lived in the theater. It may have been only 2 weeks. When I saw it, there was only 4 other people in there. Stinks for the movie, but you don’t have to worry about obnoxious attendees talking the entire time, like when I saw Sicario 2 last night. I do recommend seeing Upgrade, especially if you are a fan of sci-fi thrillers. The action is tough and gritty, and the story is impactful. Starts off slow, but at the 25 minute mark, things pick up, and they don’t stop. It hit me the same way Ex Machina did, so I definitely will have this in my collection. Look for that release soon, or at least rent it at Redbox. You most likely won’t be disappointed. If you are, then take comfort in knowing there are worse sci-fi movies out there.