Upgrade stars Logan Marshall-Green, not Tom Hardy as some have mistakenly believed. And no, this is not the Venom movie. Logan Marshall-Green has the unfortunate fate of looking almost identical to Tom Hardy, so I can see why some are confused. It’s the same curse Jesse Plemons was plagued with, looking like Matt Damon’s twin. His cure? Get fat.
I know Logan Marshall-Green from a whole slew of things, before he was the star of a short lived but awesome tv series Quarry, he was in the thriller The Invitation. A script I believe Hank reviewed.
Most recently however he had a short appearance in the new Spider-Man film as the original Shocker before Bokeem Woodbine’s character took over after Michael Keaton killed him.
He was also the star of yet another cancelled tv series called Damnation. I wasn’t as into it as Quarry, but if you liked Sons of Anarchy, maybe worth checking out.
Upgrade feels like an 80’s John Carpenter film. It has fight scenes sure, but they are go guttural, violent and short that it comes across like we are meant to dread the next fight scene instead of being excited for it. If I had to compare it to anything, maybe The Guest. Synth soundtrack, over the top violence, slightly genre bending. Is it action or is it horror?
Seeing as this only made like 4 million on opening day, it’s safe to say that Upgrade might be the most overlooked filmsof 2018. I have no idea what the most overlooked film was for last year. Maybe Brawl in Cell Block 99, hell, maybe Blade Runner 2049 since that was actually in theaters.
When I went to see this at the theater there was only maybe 4 other people. Mostly dads taking their underage sons. I always looked much older than I was, so I rarely got carded while seeing an rated R movie.
Though I do remember getting carded once when I wanted to see Half Baked. The solution to that problem was, just buy tickets to something else and sneak in to the film you want to see instead. I’ve only ever done it once, so I can’t say it will work 100% of the time.
From the trailer of Upgrade I got the impression that this was exactly the plot to this short lived Fox series Second Chance, a man dies and a scientist brings him back to life, younger and stronger, using his newfound gifts to help solve his own murder.
In Upgrade, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey, a classic car mechanic living in a futuristic world where cars are mostly self-driving.
His latest and possibly his only client is Eron Keen, a young tech mogul who lacks people skills. He has just created a new AI chip that can do just about anything, including human enhancement.
Grey’s wife Asha works for a rival company also dealing in human enhancements.
Grey has an unusual aversion to technology, so when he has to drop off Eron’s new car, he has his wife accompany him in their self-driving one.
Things go wrong however as the car takes them to a bad part of the city, let’s call hobo town. The car goes haywire, crashing them in the middle of hobo town. That’s when a group of masked men show up and murder Asha in front of Grey’s eyes.
Soon after seeing his wife get murdered, they turn to him and cripple him, introducing him to a new lifestyle called being a quadriplegic. Good thing the theater I was in was pretty empty and I could sit anywhere I wanted because if I was in my usual spot, the handicap seats, I might have felt somewhat guilty.
A few months have passed and Grey is getting used to living his life bound to a wheelchair.
The lead detective Cortez has zero leads on his wife’s killers. This disappointing news drives Grey to attempt a suicide by overdosing on pain medicine.
As he recovers in the hospital, Eron shows up offering Grey a chance to no longer be a head on a stick. He wants to insert the STEM chip into his spine, giving him the ability to walk again.
After some thought, Grey agrees to the procedure, gaining the ability to stand and much much more he soon finds out.
Unbeknownst to him, STEM is a fully integrated AI that can talk to him in his head. Wanting to help Grey with finding his wife’s killers, he spots something on the surveillance video Grey missed. You can just barely make out a military tattoo on one of the guys in the video.
They have their first suspect. But the proof they have isn’t exactly something they can disclose to the police, seeing as how he got this info was through STEM’s help, who Grey is forbidden to disclose, since the procedure he underwent wasn’t exactly legal.
Without STEM, he is back to being Sir Nowalksalot.
Grey searches the home but the only thing they find are multiple messages mentioning a bar called Old Bones.
The suspect they were staking out arrives home suddenly, surprising them and Grey gets the shit kicked out of him.
What I like about Grey is he’s just a guy. He isn’t some ex-military dude or a cop or some martial arts expert, he’s just a car mechanic. So when it comes time to throw down he’s kind of useless.
That’s why he needs the help of STEM. Given permission, STEM can take over and fight for him. I love the way Grey walks in this after receiving STEM. It’s very robotic, stiff and mechanical. Even when it’s time to fight Grey’s head is still, stuck with this horrified expression on his face, seeing what his body is doing.
When investigating the murder, detective Cortez notices that the victim had multiple enhancements made to it. Including a gun integrated into the arm.
Grey and STEM head for the bar Old Bones, their only lead so far. They publicly brag about cutting off the last guy’s head to see if that gets a rise out of anybody. And it does.
Grey is wheeled to the bathrooms to be murdered when STEM takes over yet again, taking everyone out but one, who he uses to interrogate with a knife.
The only thing they are able to get out of him is the name Fisk, the man who killed Grey’s wife. STEM also points out the logo on a device in his neck that kind of popped out during the torturing. The brand is the name of the company Asha worked for.
Not liking that Grey is using STEM to get revenge, killing those responsible, he tries to shut STEM down remotely. Grey and STEM have to act fast, finding a hacker nearby that can remove all the safeguards in STEM, making it impossible for him to be shutdown.
He hunts Grey down to the hacker’s den, but it will take a few seconds for STEM to reboot, leaving Grey helpless.
Booting up just in time, Grey is able to escape the two killers, even blowing the head off of one, leaving just Fisk left alive.
With the safeguards removed from STEM, he no longer needs Grey’s consent to take over his body. Suspecting that Grey might be taking out these guys for his wife’s murder, detective Cortez stakes him out, following him in pursuit as Grey leaves to finish off Fisk.
We get a pretty cool car chase scene, I’m always a fan of those in movies, usually, the car chase scenes in the Bourne films really did nothing for me. Maybe it’s because of the tiny cars they used.
Anyway, STEM hacks a self-driving car to crash into Cortez, giving them enough time to slip away.
So I’ll be getting into SPOILERS now, if you want to see this film, please do so as I really enjoyed the movie and the last thing I want to do is deter anyone still interested in seeing it from actually going out and buying a ticket.
Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and you are on the fence, just stop reading and go see it. This film has a few twists to it and they will be spoiled if you continue.
Now that you’ve been properly warned, let’s continue.
After a quick tussle with Fisk, who is pretty creepy in this with his thin pedostache, they find out who hired him. It was Eron. It wasn’t a gun Fisk shot him with that killed him, it was a tool used to sever spines.
Now furious, Grey heads to Eron’s cool yet kind of impractical home located underground.
STEM wanted his own body, so he chose Grey. He hacked their car, crashing them and hired the goons to do the deed. They were test subjects that needed to be disposed of, so he helped Grey to track them down, killing them. The last person on STEM’s list is Eron.
Grey tries his best to fight STEM, but he is unable to stop himself, killing Eron. Detective Cortez shows up just in time to die as Grey is sent to a fake memory of him waking up in the hospital after the car accident, his wife Asha waiting by his side.
With Grey lost in the happy fake memory, STEM has full control to do whatever he wants. Whatever that is exactly, I have no idea. But man did that twist take me by surprise. Not once did I think STEM was actually the bad guy in this. Though I really should have, seeing as he brutally murders people left and right without any care.
I just figured robots be robots, but no, he was intentionally going after these guys with the intent of killing them. You think you’re watching a violent schlocky action film, but really it’s a damn horror movie.
I give this film a big SEE IT! I highly recommend checking this one out in the theater, regardless if I spoiled it for you or not.
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