Futuristic & Furious
70%Overall Score

Streaming now on Netflix

A perfect world doesn’t make a good story but a utopian society with underlying dystopia does wonders for cinema. Upgrade shows a future that is not too far away – some cars are self-driving and AI-driven homes that can predict every need. In this world, some people prefer to stay old school. Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) is one of them, while his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) is the opposite. While the former resells vintage cars, she works for a big firm developing new technology every day. One of Grey’s clients is Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), who has developed STEM – a tool that can replace the human mind. Grey and Asha are mugged by a group of bandits with upgrades that include weapons inside their arms. In the altercation, Asha dies, and Grey develops paraplegia. Eron comes to Grey with a proposal of fusing his body with STEM so that he can use his arms and legs again. All seems well until STEM starts talking.

Upgrade is about a world transitioning into dystopia

We are all coming to believe that an ‘upgrade’ is means something better. Leigh Whannell doesn’t introduce us to an ultra-futuristic world but instead chooses one on the verge of breakthrough that will spiral us into the future. There are some fantastic tech upgrades we can see, and at the same time, there are a few who are resisting this change or can’t afford these upgrades. There’s a bar called ‘Old Bones’, which is pretty popular among the locals because it chooses to exist outside the realm of the internet. So you can’t search it on Maps or find its telephone number online. Later in an abandoned building, you see a few people hooked to IVs, high on something. With closer inspection, you will see all of them wearing VR headsets. These scenes give you an idea of this world, which is in the future, but closer than you think.

Blumhouse never fails to impress

If there is a production house trying to give us a variety of content, it is  Blumhouse. We have seen movies like Get Out and Happy Death Day from this production house, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Special mention to Logan Marshall-Green who gets the part-human part-machine walk right. There are certain scenes shot in a way that makes you think that you are part of a game.

The only flaws we could find were with the editing

The movie is essentially a lazy watch. It follows a simple storyline in a futuristic world without making anything convoluted. Although we have no complaints regarding the predictability, specific sequences could have been shorter to increase the pace.

If you are a fan of the cyberpunk genre, you should not miss Upgrade. There is an underlying battle between the human mind and a machine, and you have to watch till the end to see who wins.

Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Simon Maiden, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo, Benedict Hardie
Language: English
Streaming on: Netflix

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