trillietitan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I spent most of this rewatch of Upgrade debating on whether or not I wanted to take a full star or half away from my initial rating.
This is a really creative twist on the cyberpunk genre, and in a lot of ways its one of the best examples of human augmentation ever put to film. The film's absolutely beautiful, with a ton of fantastic cinematography and exceptional fight choreography.
However, it's noticeably more shallow than most films in its genre, and even if its a joy to watch it lacks a lot of the weight the subject matter deserves. The dialogue is clunky at best, and what little commentary there is is often reserved for arguably the most insufferable character in the film-- Eron Keen.
I'm not sure who's precisely to blame, but the combination of the horrendous dialogue and Harrison Gilbertson's wooden mannerisms is often too much to bear. I'm sure this is probably intentional, given the character's recluse status-- but the end result was far too close to a cross between prequel Anakin and real-world techbro douchebags like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg for comfort.
So I was pretty confident that this was going to be a three and a half from me this time around-- and then the last ten minutes happened. Maybe next time I'll commit the rest of the way-- but for now, that fucking masterpiece of an ending makes it all worthwhile.