Upgrade – USA, 2018 – reviews

‘Not man. Not machine. More.

Upgrade is a 2018 Australian science fiction action feature film written and directed by Leigh Whannell (Insidious franchise; Saw franchise; Cooties). The movie stars Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, and Harrison Gilbertson. Jason Blum served as a producer via his Blumhouse Productions banner.

Plot:

In the near future, when technology controls nearly all aspects of life, a technophobe avenges his wife’s murder and his own paralysis-causing injury with the help of an experimental computer chip implant called Stem…

Blu-ray news:

On 18 November 2019, Second Sight Films is releasing Upgrade as a limited edition Blu-ray with the following special features:

  • ‘Not Action. Not Sci-Fi. More’: A new interview with the director, Leigh Whannell
  • ‘Permission Granted’: A new interview with the producer, Kylie Du Fresne
  • ‘Future Noir’: A new interview with the cinematographer, Stefan Duscio
  • ‘Hacking Upgrade’: A new interview with the editor, Andy Canny
  • ‘The Art of Fighting Without Fighting’: A new interview with fight choreographer, Chris Weir
  • Optional English subtitles for the Hard of Hearing
  • Rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Adam Stothard
  • Poster featuring the new artwork
  • 40-page softcover book with new essays by Jon Towlson and Scott Harrison

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It’s a slight, lower-case stint of cinematic science fiction, whose promising premise is almost undone by the unevenly struck tones, awkward action and unstuck twist landing. Still, due to its subversive spirit, topical poignancy, vicious lashes of violence, and well-guided performance by Logan Marshall-Green, the proceedings remain amusing enough. Arrow in the Head

“Leigh Whannell’s witty, action packed horror delivers so much in the neat set pieces alone but it’s the overall nightmare critique of a tech reliant world where Upgrade comes alive (pun intended). Going all the way back to Demon Seed (1977) through to Ex Machina (2014) the Faustian deal we make with digital machines is that their ability to make our lives better disarms survival instincts that have served the human race for millennia.” Britflicks

Upgrade’s fear of a homogenised and dehumanised society is a message which works as a metaphor for the movie, too – if the MCU and its ilk are the super-slick successful equivalent of cinematic A.I.s then Upgrade is the human and flawed alternative. Rough around the edges yes, but somehow more charming for it.” Den of Geek!

“Whannell makes no bones about his luddite leanings, seizing on the relatively simple theme of “technology, bad!” and applying it with finesse to AI, VR and assorted other two-letter combinations. He’s realized his future with an eye for immersive detail, even as his philosophies peg him in a more fogeyish mindset.” The Guardian

“It could have been a shade tighter (a cop-on-the-case subplot feels a little ordinary), but the incidental details are strong and Whannell’s fondness for final act twists results in a familiar but marvellously sour conclusion with strong echoes of bleak American sci-fi movies of the 1970’s.” Horrorscreams Videovault

Upgrade is an enjoyable inversion of fantasies like Death Wish and The Six Million Dollar Man. It’s top-grade pulp.” Catherine O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“The key to enjoying Upgrade is relishing its over-the-top characterizations, plot twists, and cheesiness. Upgrade may not be a capital-G Good film, but it can be a very enjoyable one.” RogerEbert.com

Cast and characters:

Technical credits:

  • 100 minutes
  • Aspect ratio 2.35: 1
  • DTS (HD Master Audio 5.1)

Production:

On August 26, 2013, it was announced that The Spierig Brothers (Winchester; Jigsaw; Daybreakers; et al) were to direct Stem from a script by Leigh Whannell. On December 15, 2016, Blumhouse Productions announced that Leigh Whannell would be directing the film.

Principal photography began in March 2017 with the working title Stem.

Release:

Upgrade premiered at SXSW on March 17, 2018, and was released by Blumhouse Tilt on June 1, 2018.

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