Directed by Leigh Whannell
A quadriplegic becomes a killing machine.
“Upgrade is sci-fi pulp that comes packed with ideas,” said Rafer Guzmán in Newsday. Inspired by such 1980s fare as Terminator and RoboCop, this “hugely enjoyable” B movie takes a fairly ordinary premise and makes it feel new—“or at least newly relevant.” Logan Marshall-Green stars as Grey Trace, a man who’s left paralyzed after an attack by mysterious assailants but who regains control of his limbs when he agrees to have a computer chip implanted in his neck. But the chip also gives him the power to pulverize any potential opponent, and the device has a mind of its own—a mind that wants murderous violence. That twist feels “new and electric,” said Alan Scherstuhl in VillageVoice.com. “As Grey’s body carves up villains, Grey’s face is aghast, disgusted, horrified—and, of course, a little turned on.” By making the audience complicit in the violence, the movie “plays like the smarter-than-you’d-think 2018 version of some 1988 kill-’em-all VHS cheapie.” Not that Upgrade wants to be particularly smart, said Emily Yoshida in NYMag.com. It instead makes dark farce from our man-vs.-machine fears, and watching Grey fail over and over to tame his embedded demon proves “hilarious on a bone-deep level.”