Upgrade

Upgrade ★★★½

OK, consider me surprised.

Seeing the trailer, I was fully expecting this to be a by-the-numbers 'John Wick meets Robocop' action flick; a B-movie with absolutely nothing much going on save for the seemingly “fresh” concept.

Well, Upgrade is that if we're being honest. But then it is also so much more.
There is excellent stylized camerawork on display especially in the action scenes/sequences, crisp editing, some dope ass lighting and color grading and a synth score that is quite noteworthy in itself.

Logan Marshall-Green (NOT Tom Hardy) actually gives quite a good and serviceable performance as Grey. He emotes emphatically, his interactions and eventual struggles with STEM are a highlight of the film and he applies himself with gusto to the physically demanding scenes. He's just great to watch.

It should be emphasized that the choreography and editing in the fight scenes are nothing but exquisite. Leigh Whannel also directs them with a lot of style to keep you enthralled. The action, while gory, is easy to follow and very entertaining.

Plot-wise, we've seen this countless times. The characters are thin and cliché, the dialogue can be soulless but the whole film is elevated by a few twists that really subvert the genre especially in the third act.
Specifically, that dark twist ending is actually what made me go “Oh...OK this is actually great.” because it really got me thinking in the same way that Black Mirror episodes get me to think.
Clever and morally complex stuff.

I won't say Upgrade is a “must-see” but it is a pretty solid one.