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While it owes a great deal to some of the finest genre films of the 1980s and 1990s – including BLADE RUNNER, VIDEODROME, THE TERMINATOR and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER – Leigh Whannell's UPGRADE is clearly a love letter to Paul Verhoeven above all else. Taking his narrative inspiration from ROBOCOP and borrowing a few visual cues from TOTAL RECALL, Whannell creates one of the finest genre mash-ups since Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's THE GUEST, in which an average Joe (a fantastic Logan Marshall-Green) is rendered paraplegic in a seemingly random attack by a group of thugs and sets out for revenge. He is able to do so with the aid of a computer chip – 'Stem' – that not only allows him to walk again but has the power to turn him into an unstoppable killing machine. But for all its references to older films, UPGRADE feels fresh, featuring some of the best action sequences since THE RAID and a unique vision of the future in which nature clearly serves as the inspiration for architecture and home decor (presumably because natural beauty is fetishised in a world of cybernetics and virtual reality). And while it does touch on themes prevalent in an awful lot of contemporary science fiction media (comparisons to the likes of HER and BLACK MIRROR are somewhat inevitable), this isn't just a technophobic tirade, either; rather, like Verhoeven's forays into the genre, it laments a world in which we are all increasingly falling under corporate control.

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