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The Showtime Original Picture version of Ex Machina.

The movie basically lost me five seconds in with its retro-nostalgia gag—a production house bumper the color of television hooked up to a VCR with bad tracking—but that sets the tone nicely for a generic revenge action-thriller implanted with the demon seed of eXistenZal body horror in an unevenly distributed cyber/biopunk future of teal and orange (with a brief but welcome foray into a bisexual lighting murderroom).

Whannell has always been a terrible writer, and going by this he’s not much of a director, either. The plotting assumes that the audience and not the protagonist has suffered a massive injury to the nervous system. The gender politics in an allegedly cyberpunk film are just a hair’s breadth from a shitty channer “attack helicopter” joke in at least one scene. The science-fictiony bits are very very derivative. The actiony bits are suuuper tedious. (All of the fight scenes are that one gag from The Matrix where newly-ascended Keanu fights one-handed, with a little bit of Equilibrium gun kata near the end; a car “chase” consists of slightly agressive lane-changing.) Props for making those jarringly distracting camera/actor rigs into a sort of character within the film; it’s easily the least hackneyed decision in a film which gives the cybernetic Übermensch baddie a full-on fash wardrobe and Hitler haircut.

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