Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
How about a combo of 'Ex Machina' + 'Robocop' + 'The Matrix' = Yes please!
"It does not make sense that humans deliberately malfunction ... Yeah, that's because your memories are filled with ones and zeros, pal, and our memories are filled with every fuck-up we've ever made."
This was the movie at my New Year's Eve party that made everyone do a double take and say HOLY SHIT! Upgrade is a clever and brutal update to the premise of Robocop, that shows how AI can be pretty awesome as long as it does not get this powerful. I know it has been said before but Logan Marshall-Green truly does look like the discount Tom Hardy, and they both even starred in 2018 movies about becoming bad asses that talk to a voice in their head.
"I need your permission to operate independently ... Permission granted."
I thought it was cool how they contrasted this futuristic setting complete with cars that drive themselves and police drones everywhere, with the main character being this gear head turned vigilante. I just loved how the fighting had this violent weight to it that really takes you off guard, but its fun to see these thugs get what's coming to them. And not only does the AI turn him into a lethal fighter, but it is also cool to hear it helping him figure out each situation, by evaluating the people he comes across.
"See, you thought I was a cripple but you didn't know that I'm a ninja ... While I am state of the art, I am not a ninja."
Upgrade is an excellent overlooked action film that flies by, and packs a serious punch with its intense action and story twist.
This was a rare case where I pretty much figured out where the story was going, despite getting that red herring making us think his wife's Tech company could be the one behind it all. But it was great that the twist went further than I expected, and the Tech mogul was just a pawn in this scheme where the AI was actually the one in control.
The ending almost ruined it for me when we get the scene where he sees his wife again. I was thinking they can't go out with the 'it was all just a dream' cliche. Thankfully it was way smarter than that, and the AI actually was able to lock the main character's consensus into a good memory within his brain, in order for it take full control of his body.
Thanks for reading!
Happy movie watching ... cheers!