Not Man. Not Machine. More.
Upgrade is directed Leigh Whannell and it’s a sci-fi action movie that is pretty unique. It’s about a man, Grey, who goes trough a tragic accident and ends up quadriplegic. However a young man tells him he can walk again thanks to a special chip called STEM. With STEM, his body is more capable, it can take control of him and make him almost invincible. Now Grey is out for revenge and this chip will help him get it. This movie stars Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel and Harrison Gilbertson.
What impressed me the most about this movie is that the people who reacted the trailer on YouTube were very impressed by the practical effects and originality of it all. This movie proves that a colossal CGI fest isn’t always the way to go with an action movie. Although I was very disappointed to find out that Upgrade only made 12.5 million dollars worldwide. I went to check out how much Pacific Rim: Uprising made and you guessed it. It made a ton of money, almost 300 million dollars worldwide. So why didn’t people support this movie? Easy, Blumhouse didn’t really put as much faith in this movie as their other horror movies. This movie only had one official trailer. It wasn’t promoted at all. It wasn’t even released theatrically in my country, which is a shame because this movie is actually really great. The video below is an official promo from Blumhouse that shows the reactions to the trailer. Look at how excited and shocked they are. It baffles me how it didn’t make more money.
Upgrade is an unapologetically violent, thrilling and clever. It never holds back and that’s what I love about this movie, it owes up to being rated R. Not only that but it has a damn good plot to support the action. People may say this movie is a bit familiar and to a certain point I get it because of the cliched revenge aspect but this movie does it with style. I am still torn about that ending though. I didn’t see it coming and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Looking back, I still love the movie with the ending that it was. I guess I accepted it. It was very weird, usually I immediately know how to feel about a movie almost immediately but with this one, because of that ending, it was just problematic. That’s why I delayed this review.
One of the best things about Upgrade is Logan Marshall-Green. He is amazing in this movie. He delivers one of the best performances of the year and I feel like many people will overlook it because of the movie’s financial failure and ability to get recognized. One of the most memorable aspects of this movie was Grey and STEM’s dynamic. I liked their interactions. Also the two other main characters were decent. Both Gabriel and Gilbertson gave great performances but their characters weren’t explored enough. I would’ve loved to see more of Gilbertson’s character. When he first showed up, I paused it to see if he was related to Chris Pine, it’s like he’s a younger version of him. The same goes for Gabriel, I knew that I knew from something. Turns it out she’s Georgina from Get Out.
Without spoiling anything, there is a scene in a house and a fight breaks out and Grey tells STEM to take over and it’s one of the best scenes I’ve seen so far this year. From the cinematography to the choreographed fight to the lines and especially to Green’s performance. He has to act like his body is fighting someone and it’s not him controlling it, he’s terrified at what his body is doing and he really brings that out. This scene also provides a lot of dark humor which works for the most part. Also the camera movement in this scene is insanely awesome, it’s so simple yet it’s effective. It evokes a sense of power to Grey. It’s like he is controlling the camera, like he’s demanding complete control over the movie.
All in all, Upgrade is a damn good action movie. It includes an amazing performance by Logan Marshall-Green. The action is awesome and most importantly unique. It’s a gory thrill which I can see myself seeing again and even potentially buying. It definitely stands out as one of this year’s most unique movies.