Logan Marshall-GreenMelanie Vallejo...
Action & AdventureScience Fiction
In 1 Cinema
Have you ever watched something and felt that’s it is very familiar, to the point where you ask yourself “where have I seen this before?” If you have watched Tom Hardy’s recent performance in Venom (2018), or any AI sci-fi movie ever, then Upgrade will seem very familiar.
Set in an AI dominated future, Upgrade follows technophobe mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green). Trace and his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) are ambushed by thugs; consequently, Grey becomes paraplegic, and his wife loses her life. Grey wants revenge but can’t get it due to his condition, so he attempts suicide. At the hospital, billionaire inventor Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), offers Grey a cure; an AI chip called STEM that will be implanted in his body and allow him to move. Grey accepts, but soon finds out that the STEM can speak to him, give him super strength and power, and has a mind of its own. As STEM helps Grey get his revenge, the line between right and wrong is blurred, and STEM becomes more and more in control.
Not an entirely novel concept. Indeed, the feature combines aspects from many familiar films like The Terminator (1084); I, Robot (2004); and Her (2013). As such, the film is riddled with clichés and familiarity.
The plot flows nicely enough to keep the audience interested and makes sure to remain simple, as well as violent enough not to lose them. There is quite a bit of violence, which escalates thanks to STEM; however, this escalating effect would have been much better if it was even more brutal and the build-up to it was clearer.
The tech aspects are mostly believable, but in some instances, these aspects become far too implausible. For example, there is a scene with a cyborg sneezing, with a zoom in on his sneeze which contains some sort of deadly micro roaches. That scene, among others, went a bit too far plausibility-wise.
As for the acting, Logan Marshall-Green definitely put effort into his performance, but he lacked the charisma that would help this film resonate much more with the audience. Marshall-Green performed very well in the scenes where STEM took over, with his completely upright posture and his mechanic movements. Harrison Gilbertson’s performance was mediocre at best, especially for a villain. His performance did not develop so as to lead to the reveal of him as a villain. Instead, it was a flat, monotonous performance.
Upgrade is not an A-Class feature by any means but, if you like fun and violent AI movies, and don’t mind whatever familiar or ridiculous context they take place in, then definitely go for it.