Upgrade

A guy finds himself helped in his quest for revenge with an odd item of technology in this slick thriller out of Leigh Whannell.

The second movie (following 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3) to be composed and directed by Leigh Whannell, Upgrade opens with a contradiction. Following the titles of the movie’s various manufacturing companies, and even its name, are read in a Siri-like voice to the accompaniment of all CG vision, we watch Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) working on the engine of a timeless Firebird Trans Am.


It’s the long run, but Grey surrounds himself with all the pre-computer detritus of this 20th century — an analogue guy in an electronic era. After a gang shoots his wife (Melanie Vallejo) leaves and dead him a paraplegic, our Luddite protagonist has an experimental augmentation attached to his backbone from cybernetics genius Eron (Harrison Gilbertson) and finds himself occupying a Grey place involving his very own human consciousness along with the high tech system (called STEM, also voiced by Simon Maiden) currently coordinating his physiological activities.

That is, at least originally, a revenge-driven activity movie, as Grey goes after the men (themselves bionically enhanced) who destroyed his life, and finds that STEM could do things with his own body he could never do before. As a result, the battle sequences are odd in their own conception, together with Grey an embarrassing puppet to his kickass moves. Nevertheless Whannell’s movie also brings a scientific update to Robert Louis Stevenson’s’Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, since the hybrid Grey becomes more conflicted with himself in a battle for control as much internal as external.
Marshall-Green’s oft-noticed resemblance to the star of Marvel’s coming Venom signifies that Upgrade is just one of two movies released this year which can see a Tom Hardy-like hero doing battle with his other half. In 1 manner or another, however, it’s Whannell’s movie that’s the singularity.

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