Upgrade (2017)
June 7, 2018 7:30 PM - Subscribe

Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.

David Fear, Rolling Stone: This is not Citizen Kane. It's not even the Citizen Kane of boneheaded crazy-A.I.-meets-vengeance-is-mine movies. But it is so completely itch-scratching, so Dopamine-rush delirious in how works its primal-cinema magic that you find yourself embracing every warts-and-all WTF moment of this techsploitation nightmare along with the highlights.

Simon Abrams, rogerebert.com: From this plot synopsis, you might think that writer/director Leigh Whannell has a lot to say about man's relationship with technology. You'd be wrong since Whannell ... doesn't have the patience to develop any of his film's bigger ideas about how modern technology uses its creators more than we use it.

Thankfully, viewers with a hearty stomach and a taste for blood will be delighted to learn that Whannell delivers other things in abundance.... You'll have a good time with "Upgrade" if you don't take Whannell's half-baked ideas or unabashed blood-lust too seriously.

Glenn Kenny, New York Times: “Upgrade” is an energetic, superficially slick, latter-day B-movie of the “but dumb” category. That is, it’s kind of like “RoboCop,” but dumb, and also like “Ex Machina,” but dumb. In this respect the movie manages to be pretty funny; and the grisliness of the action, while in a sense entirely deplorable, adds to the kicks. As do the plot twists, which are satisfying in a — you guessed it — dumb way.
posted by DevilsAdvocate (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's nothing about the trailers that suggest this is a film that wants to explore modern technology in the way that films like Ex Machina or Her do. It's pretty obviously not that kind of film, and that's ok with me as I didn't go in expecting that kind of film.

It reminds me a bit of Crank (Jason Statham). It's completely silly, but somehow it's still great fun to watch. It's a great summer flick to catch with a bunch of friends.

Also the way the film is ended, I'm willing to bet cold hard cash this becomes a franchise (much like Whannell's Saw).
posted by miss-lapin at 7:59 PM on June 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I also found it similar to "Crank" - though without Statham's comic timing.

One thing that stuck out to me was the entryway to the techbro's house. At first I thought "Oh wow, that's Casa Brutale" but the place hasn't been built yet (as far as I know.) Then two nights ago grumpybearbride and I were re-watching The Leftovers and lo and behold, during "The Most Powerful Man In The World (And His Identical Twin Brother)", what do I see but the exact same long, narrow staircase. So now I'm really curious. Grumpybearbride is convinced it is a special effect and that the staircase doesn't actually exist, but some quick detective work revealed that both Upgrade and The Leftovers utilized Dockland Studios Melbourne, in which you will find this staircase.

I'm calling it now: that staircase is the new PKE Meter!
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I haven't watched this yet but the premise sounds weirdly similar to a book I read a while back called Amped, where the main character discovers the chip in his head that he thinks is treating his epilepsy is actually a military-grade chip meant to boost combat abilities. The book is mainly about an X-Men style backlash against the "amplified" people with brain-enhancing implants.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:18 PM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like the original Deathlok comics to me, but I'm sure the idea is older.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:24 AM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I do not know what I expected, but a bloody buddy comedy about a quadriplegic man and his cybernetic implant is a delightful surprise.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:13 PM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean, granted, the buddy aspect goes pretty horribly awry. Pity they didn't stay friends and just become a crimefighting duo with a film series.

(kidding/not kidding)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:10 PM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

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