Upgrade (2018)

Director: Leigh Whannell

Starring: Melanie Vallejo, Logan Marshall-Green, Abby Craden, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie, Richard Cawthorne, Christopher Kirby, Betty Gabriel

Upgrade Trailer

Whoops! I mean…

Tagline: The Cyberpunk movie we never knew we needed…

Despite their popularity, I have never seen any of the SAW franchise or Hostel as although it has been said “Humans take perverse pleasure in sham agony and death (roller coasters, horror flicks, televangelism). “ (Uncle Al) I am not that interested in it apart from the Raid movies.

Now that Leigh and James are established directors in Hollywood they can get to do their own thing from time to time and this seems more like a passion project than a traditional blockbuster. I did not know it was even filmed in Melbourne until the robotic voice at the start announced Film Victoria as being involved.

We have already entered the biomechanical age thanks to the endless middle eastern war in Afghanistan, it is called a graveyard of empires for good reason and all those soldiers being blown up by IEDs in Iraq has led to advances in artificial limbs and replacement body parts. We are not really at the stage where people would want to replace a body part for greater advantage as yet.

Also the interface and infection control must have been worked out in the future as a friend’s contact lens scratched his eye and he was done for the day.

The story is a standard revenge plot with a tech billionaire offering a deal the hero can’t refuse so he can walk again and also find his wife’s killer. Complicating matters is there is already a detective on the case and our hero has to pretend he is still a quadriplegic.

Although it is a fully tech-integrated world there are still low tech spaces like the Old Bones bar where technology is forbidden and surely there would be hippie communes in this world?

I did like the VR refugees as it reminded me of the “Better than Life” episode of Red Dwarf and also the Polish/Japanese movie Avalon set totally in VR.

There were very good fight sequences and stunt coordination with a nod to the Raid movies as they seem to have influenced a lot of movies these days.

I had no problem with the acting and the story seemed to flow well. It did seem to be a believable world with a balance between sci-fi utopia and scummy sections. The utopia is for the rich and the poor people get the worst deal. Docklands is also a slum I would agree. Great shots going over the Bolte Bridge.

With Cyberpunk 2077 coming out in the near future I am sure there will be talk of a movie adaptation, not sure they really need it or one of Deus Ex with this film out. There is enough storyline in those two games that they don’t really need a movie made of them the same as Skyrim.

BONUS!

Cyberpunk (1990) Full documentary

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