Directed by Leigh Whannell
The first interesting film by the Australian-born actor turned director Leigh Whannell is “Upgrade”, an effective dark blend of action, sci-fi, and horror that may be too moody for everyone’s taste.
The story revolves around Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), a chip-controlled mechanic that seeks revenge in the sequence of a mugging that left him quadriplegic and killed his wife, Asha (Melanie Vallejo). After an unsuccessful attempt of suicide, Trace accepts the help of an opaque tech expert named Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), who implants a highly-developed artificial intelligence chip in his spine. STEM, the chip, makes him physically active again but also controls his mind and talks to him (Simon Maiden’s voice) by sending sound waves directly to his eardrum. However, he needs the host’s permission to act as a brute force against those who destroyed his life.
Along the way, he gets rid of Detective Cortez (Betty Gabriel), a suspicious mind who doesn’t cease to stalk him; has Jamie (Kai Bradley), a savvy hacker, rebooting his dying system; and hunts down the evil upgrader Fisk (Benedict Hardie).
The well-told “Upgrade” maintains the dystopian vibrancy until the end, compensating the less vivid moments with a subtle dark humor that fits hand in glove.
With Marshall-Green in top form, expect violent scenes throughout and rip-roaring disclosures, strategically left for the final section.