Upgrade Blu Ray Review (Universal/Blumhouse)
Upgrade is a 2018 science fiction film written & directed by Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3, Saw 1/2/3, Dead Silence, & Cooties). “Stem” was the original title for the feature. It was a co-production between Australia & the United States. It was produced by Blumhouse Productions (The Purge franchise, The Green Inferno, Split, Get Out, & Happy Death Day). Grey Trace (played by: Logan Marshall-Green from Dark Blue, Damnation, Prometheus, & Spider-Man: Homecoming) is mechanic & one day he asks his wife Asha (played by: Melanie Vallejo from Winners & Losers, Dying Breed & Power Rangers Mystic Force) to help him return a refurbished car to his client Eron Keen (played by: Harrison Gilbertson from Picnic at Hanging Rock, Hounds of Love, Need for Speed, & Conspiracy 365). Eron reveals his latest creation to them, an AI chip called STEM that can serve as an auxiliary brain. After leaving, their self-driving car malfunctions & crashes. The couple is left injured & trapped inside the vehicle. Four unknown men show up right away & pull them out from the wreck. They kill Asha in front of the helpless Grey. They severe his spine at the scene of the crime.
Grey is now a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. He’s tormented by the living nightmare that changed his life forever. He goes to Detective Cortez (played by: Betty Gabriel from Get Out, The Purge: Election Year, Counterpart, & Beyond Skyline) for help finding his wife’s killers but she doesn’t have any leads. Frustrated from all the recent events, Grey tries to kill himself. Eron offers to help him walk again with his new experiment. STEM tells Grey it can help track down the men responsible for his wife’s death. Grey agrees to let STEM help him get his revenge! This leads him to a twisted path into a dark world. As Grey gets deeper into his retaliation, he starts to lose control from himself. Detective Cortez is still trying to find Asha’s killers but now she has to investigate all these recent gruesome murders. Fisk (played by: Benedict Hardie from Hacksaw Ridge, The Water Diviner, Observance, & Secret City) is the monster that caused Grey all this change & pain. The two finally meet & it’s a battle between men with similar dangerous powers. Can this upgrade be stopped or has STEM taken over forever????
Upgrade is hands down the BEST science fiction film that I’ve seen since Ex Machina! It mixes some of my favorite sub genres which include body horror & revenge. You probably mainly know director Leigh Whannell for being one of the co-creators of the Saw franchise plus the other lead in the original film but he’s done so much more since then. He proves once again that he’s a very creative writer & brings some fresh air into cinema with this feature! When a man has nothing left in life, that’s a scary & a dangerous situation. Logan Marshall-Green gives his best performance in his career as Grey. He’s a broken character that’s ready to end it all until he gets a new chance from a modern day mad scientist. After getting no help from the police, he takes matters in his own hands. Upgrade doesn’t hold back on the violence & the brutal path that the lead takes to get his retaliation. The complications he goes through makes it a cut above your typical revenge flick. Nothing that he does is easy here & once he starts there’s nothing that’s going to stop him. It has a few real funny moments that blend into the gruesome visuals presented on this production which is a nice change. It’s full of action & suspense towards the 2nd half. It keeps you on your toes at the end with a few twists & turns. The build up really pays off & it leaves you satisfied with the overall experience. This is one of the best films from 2018 & a new personal favorite. The replay value is strong, I already can’t wait to revisit it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks GREAT! Upgrade has a nice real visual style to it & the cinematography is top notch here. The bright colors really stand out during it’s scenes & it gets you invested into this crazy setting. It has a nice balance of a futuristic world & a gritty urban environment. It has 3 different audio options which include English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: DTS 5.1, & Spanish: DTS 5.1 tracks. It’s a powerful mix that really elevates the action & violence for the feature. It has a nice score that adds to it’s unique atmosphere. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. It has a slipcover & a digital code included, there’s no special features on this disc. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out ASAP!!!!