It is amazing when you look back at the advances in technology, especially when it deals with medicine. Reading about medical practices from even the last century and how off-base they were when compared to what we know today. We can do things now that were thought impossible before, and we are still making advances. But at what point should we heed the intelligence of those technologies? Leigh Whannell’s “Upgrade” is a tale that looks at this question and its consequences.
Starring Logan Marshall-Green (Devil, Prometheus). Richard Cawthorne (Wolf Creek, Killing Time), Michael M. Foster (Killer Elite, Thor: Ragnarok), Betty Gabriel (Get Out, Good Girls Revolt), Harrison Gilbertson (Fallen, Haunt), Benedict Hardie (Hacksaw Ridge, Molly), Clayton Jacobson (Kenny), and Melanie Vallejo (Home, The Jesters), it is the not-so-distant future as Grey (Marshall-Green), a mechanic of classic cars and resistant of new technologies ends up in a situation where their automated car breaks in a bad neighborhood, which results in the murder of his wife and his paralysis from the chest down by a gang of thugs. One of his customers offers him the ability to walk again through experimental technology that is not approved by the FDA, and after Grey agrees, he realizes that the chip he has implanted actually has AI built into it, enabling it to communicate with him in his head. Grey then teams up with the AI to go on a mission to get revenge on those that hurt him and killed his wife.
This film has a kind of independent feel, but in a good way, reminding me of films like “Locke” and “Ex Machina”. Visually, it shows some very dark and shady locals with no flair and then high dollar areas, and I truly enjoyed the contrast. The acting was good overall, and have to give it to Marshall-Green, who does a good job of doing movements and gestures as if he was a robot, coupled with the shooting style. He was able to go from normal human flow than to a robot (when the AI took over) almost immediately. Hardie also does good work as the antagonist that has secrets of his own, and Gabriel does well in her role as the detective working the murder case, on par with some of her past roles like “Get Out,” and I am becoming more of a fan of hers over time.
When it comes to the plot, I am a tad torn. “Upgrade” is about ninety minutes long, which is not too long and kept a good pace. However, the ending got a little confusing and a tad disappointing. I think the film could have had a better last ten minutes, but beyond that, I really did enjoy it. I have to warn you there is some graphic violence here, but it is truly to enhance the story, so I will still recommend the film as a Saturday afternoon or matinee showing in the theaters.