In a time of angst over AI and the nascent development of human interfaces with technology it is interesting to watch a film that explores these issues.
Upgrade is a techno-horror film set in the future where computers monitor everything but some have managed to subvert the all encompassing gaze.
It’s a simple plot really. Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is a technophobic man who fixes up old cars and is married to Asha (Melanie Vallejo) who is the complete opposite. She is enmeshed in the tech world.
A car crash ends up killing her and making him a tetraplegic. Despite wanting to end his life he is convinced by a computer super genius to have a special chip lodged in his spine that will give him back the ability to move.
Unbeknownst to Trace, this is no ordinary chip. It is an enhanced AI computer that (with his permission) can take over complete control of his body. Trace then goes on a manhunt when he discovers the car wreck was no accident. The chip in his neck then begins talking to him and at crucial moments makes him into a kind of super ninja with lightning fast reactions.
As the plot progresses Trace eventually becomes aware of a deeper and sinister plot and where this leads the film is mind blowing.
It is the fight scenes that make this film so much better than your average revenge story. Trace’s obvious disgust at what the chip is making him do is hilarious and the choreography of the fights is superb. Marshall-Green is the perfect choice for this role, and his ability to create robotic actions is marvellous.
There are some writers who call this film a well made B Grade movie. I’d definitely agree it is well made, but I think it’s a bit mean to call it B Grade. I think it holds its own very well, it is an action film with some fulfilling and surprising twists.
In cinemas 31st May 2018
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson
Directed by: Leigh Whannell