Upgrade

Upgrade ★★★★

You can tell someone had been watching Ghost in the Shell, Robocop, and Blade Runner (more 2049, I think) - not merely because of the concepts of man-machine interface and the questions delivered thereby, but because of the bursts of extreme violence, delicious coloration, highly expressive score, and intelligent camera work - and then, not merely in following the stellar action sequences punch-by-punch, but in setting up and lingering on some gorgeous and weighty shots. The restraint shown sometimes, far too mature for a story of this caliber, made me think instantly of Denis Villeneuve.

This movie does a fantastic job of disguising that it's actually quite stupid at heart; it almost seems like it was made too well for the type of movie that it is. The dialogue, despite its clever moments, often veers into the mundane or nonsensical. The acting oddly oscillates between perfect and overdone. It's hard to escape some sense that the story doesn't ultimately make sense or that it could have been handled better, and there are certainly plenty of laughable details that surface throughout. Overall, however, Upgrade has such great style and wonderful aesthetic sense pilfered from some of my favorite movies that it's easy to overlook its flaws, especially because of its fantastic fight scenes.

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