Upgrade ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This is the type of sci-fi movie that won’t age well 10 years from now.

Overall, the plot was entertaining; but the world building is just really bad and it seems like the filmmaker didn’t even bother to introduce us to this gritty dystopian sci-fi world. Majority of the world building in the movie was just the couple in their house, just flat out mentioning printing out pizza because making one is “too much work”. Then we had a very brief introduction with Eron Keen- who’s apparently a very successful tech person.

That’s really all I hated about the film, the minor anachronisms are forgivable. One thing I found laughable was that with all the technological innovations that were existing in this world, for some reason Stem and the AI assistants still use this text-to-speech voice to communicate. I think if we come to a time where self-driving cars are common, AIs would have one of those voices featured in the movie “Her”.

The camerawork during the fight scenes were really unique. It really is a way to shoot fight scenes like we’ve never seen before. The Bolt robot camera rig or whatever robot rig they used to film these, usually doesn’t have a good use in narrative filmmaking- that’s why they’re more commonly used in advertisements and music videos. But in this film, it really fit the tone, the genre and the purpose. I watched The Invisible Man before I watched Upgrade, and I have to mention that I did not like The Invisible Man mostly because of the out of place robotic arm camera movements; but in this film, it really served its purpose.

The protagonist, Grey, is the only character in the film who had dimension. Everyone else around him are just flat. The bad guys were just bad, the mom is caring, the detective is annoyingly hindering our protagonist’s goal, Eron Keen the inventor would have been a really interesting character to explore, but unfortunately he wasn’t. That’s why the “it was him all along” twist in the end wasn’t as impactful as it could have been. Hence, at the 2nd act of the film, it just feels like a typical revenge film we’ve seen a couple of times before, set in a dystopian sci-fi world.