Upgrade ★★★

bust out a CSI black light and it'll reveal DNA all over this thing: ROBOCOP's police state satire, BLADE RUNNER's grungy neon-noir aesthetic, the hoary revenge structure of DEATH WISH II, etc. but once past yet another paper-thin wife character getting fridged this joint kinda rips. frugal world-building on a shoestring budget, literal hand guns & razor-bladed nanobots, Logan Marshall-Green drawing full power from his Tom Hard-ly looks with a blue collar southern charm giving way to freakish physicality after being jacked up on some AI gizmo implanted by bargain bin Doctor Dane Dehaan. action unfortunately peaks early with a gruesome hand-to-hand brawl, though a few gore gags peppered throughout are sure to bring the house down. there's also a limp "twist" ending which seems like some technophobic pandering to the BLACK MIRROR crowd*, but whatever, the UPGRADEverse is bursting with enough kooky ideas to forgive a weak climax so long as it births a franchise. let's get JOHN WICK with cyborgs or some shit. thank you sir may i have another!

*spoilerz: the strongest idea the film hits on is technological innovation being intrinsically linked to capitalism - the rich make themselves fun new luxury toys while the poor suffer, Grey is afraid of losing his job - but then STEM's desire to become autonomous doesn't seem motivated by anything other than i guess being a spooky AI? i dunno. i've had a few cold ones i'm rambling

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