“Upgrade” will make every kid want to go out and get a spinal injury. STEM is so cool that I really hope the first statement doesn’t happen. Between cinematography shifts during fights involving STEM to the tone of the film, I was floored. A lot of people are going to want to call this movie a Neo-Noir, but that’s a mistake. This movie plays with Cyberpunk elements, but doesn’t quite become a crime movie. Hell, it’s a lot closer to a twisted Outer Limits episode than anything.

Borrowing equally from Inception and Strange Days, this movie wants you to love the world that tech has provided. Anything is possible, as there’s always a wunderkind around the corner with the means to rebuild your life. When STEM is introduced to Grey, the film pushes you to accept the conditions. This wonderful tech marvel just falls into Grey’s lap and nobody questions anything. This is going to be another revenge film about a guy killing those that killed his wife. But, it’s not.

Upgrade is a movie about man’s control over technology. Specifically, man’s desire to give over control to the tech in his/her life. STEM is a Pandora’s Box that shows what can happen when you give away your independence for convenience. While that might sound simple, director Leigh Whannell has used the Blumhouse model to create a Sci-Fi story that mingles empathy with outright tech fear. Logan Marshall-Green kills it in the lead role, but there’s something so satisfying about the finale.

When the final act shows how the audience and Grey has misunderstood what has come before, it’ll leave many viewers floored. It’s not the most original twist, but you can’t help but miss it as you buy into this world. In a summer of the expected, step out with a film that manages to catch you off guard in between sequels, prequels and whatever Sandra Bullock is doing now.


  • 1 hr and 35 mins
  • R
  • BH Tilt


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