Upgrade – Movie Review of a New Classic?

I just watched Upgrade on Netflix and overall its a really fun and enjoyable movie that brought back some nostalgia from the late 90s for me. Some of you might recall some of the older gun films like Christian Bale’s excellent yet often forgotten Equilibrium or films in a similar vein from the 80s and 90s? For those of you that are fans of this type of movie this will be right up your alley.

With Upgrade, you have a Luddite in a very interesting future with self-driving car technology everywhere and drone surveillance along with evil cyborgs and more. He just happens to be a mechanic and engineer who restores old vehicles which is how we meet him. He’s busy building a new car for a tech billionaire who has just happened to develop a new hardware chip that will provide humans with great abilities. Basically an “Upgrade” to our current capabilities and will let us work with computers in ways we’ve not yet even considered.

While initially dismissing the functions of the chip Grey and his wife are traveling home when they are forced off the road as their self-driving car seems to have a malfunction. They end up in a bad area of the neighborhood where Grey’s wife ends up being shot along with Grey himself. Grey survives the shooting but wakes up to find himself in the hospital as a quadriplegic and Aaron – the tech billionaire offers a solution where he can implant Grey with his chip to solve or to return him to functionality. Unfortunately, the “mugging” left his wife dead.

While the police seem to have all the tech in the world they are unable to find the killers and Grey eventually comes succumbs to temptation and has the chip implanted. Very quickly the situation changes as the chip is much more than it seems. When it starts to talk to Grey the situation changes dramatically as does the story itself.

Grey eventually starts to search for his wife’s killers and he is a comedic ninja in his performance. The way he moves and acts is exceptionally good while at the same time being very robotic as it should be. Over time we find that the individuals who actually killed his wife were also upgraded and suspicion is initially pointed towards Grey’s wife’s company. I won’t ruin the ending for you as I do think that this is worth watching. However, I do think that there are a couple of glaring holes that should have been addressed.

— spoilers below —

  • If Grey was actually the target then why was Eron trying to shut off Stem in the first place? Would it not make more sense to let it take control as it was intending to do?
  • If Eron was being controlled right from the beginning why did he implant Stem with the restrictions that were there?
  • When Jamie talks about not letting them win who’s she talking about? What does she know?

I hope you get this a chance to give this one a shot as I really did enjoy it and I would recommend it for anyone looking to waste some time.

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I'm a geek! I love all things SciFi and Fantasy and have done since I first read LOTR as a kid. Escapism to fantastic worlds filled with weird and wonderful creatures initially for me was via books and comics, but with the recent surge in popularity of this fare in film and television also - I'm in a state of bliss! As the editor of Zone Six, I've been lucky to meet some other awesome authors and writers that share this love and passion. The great Ray Bradbury said - "Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will .. it will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again."

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