Upgrade ★★★★

Note: There are no spoilers in this review. Everything explicitly mentioned takes place in the first ten-ish minutes. :)

A movie I liked a lot, with two caveats:

Oh man. That technology mastermind villain. Some trope-y characterization shortcuts include:
-techboy that wears a mask for his once-a-decade outings, cause he’s fragile handle with care DON’T TOUCH ME. (Quarantine All Star!)
-techboy that stops socializing at about three years old, when he first learns how to hug a computer monitor.
-techboy that speaks with less emotion than his chips (electronic and potato).
-techboy that randomly dresses like Dr. Evil at one point, but without the cat as accessory, because f*ck sentient beings he hasn’t created.

-The “let’s turn a handicapped person into a superhero” trope is played out. The limits of Grey’s quadriplegia only add to the film in an exciting way in the lead-up to the hacker scene; even then, there are other facets of his powers that are out of his control and could lead to the exact same scenario. Grey needs to hide the truth from Detective Cortez, and that’s interesting in spurts. However, his handicap is primarily used as an easy plot device and a misery maximizer, so Grey gets to the point where he’s really ready to open up a can on the baddies (isn’t his wife’s murder enough?).

I really enjoyed this, though! The world Whannell creates is visually compelling, and the fight choreography is great. The touches of humor made these action scenes even more enjoyable, an appreciated respite from some modern action films that take literally everything so seriously. Grey’s internal and external monologue was so well done, reminding me of the good old days when action stars like Schwarzenegger would throw in quips to remind the audience that-despite the dystopian scenario and intense violence onscreen -they’re still watching an escapist action film. Have fun with it!

One question: if a guy has a gun in his arm, shouldn’t he just store ammo in his  shoulder? These kids and their crazy toys!

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