Friday, June 22, 2018

That hurt good.

The Matrix. 
The Terminator. 
Blade Runner. 
I, Robot. 

Movies have been telling us for years that machines will eventually take over and enslave us. And life, generally, seems in agreement.

But, uh, between you and me, who gives a shit? I mean, if it makes life better *checks phone*...can it really be that bad? Might as well throw our hands up roller-coaster style and enjoy the downward spiral *checks phone again* ...together? I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

Oh, right: Upgrade, that sneaky f--ker of a flick. Definitely low-budget but possibly high-concept, writer/director Leigh Whannell has crafted the ultimate cautionary tale in the continuing saga of man v. machine. This time, however, the man is the machine. Just not at first.

After dropping off a fully-restored muscle car to his mysteriously mysterious client, Grey and his beautiful wife Asha head home in their driver-less vehichle. Apparently, Siri's been drinking and instead of Jesus taking the wheel, no one does. In fact, all Hell breaks loose and our happy (and mid-bang) couple is involved in an epic car crash. Good thing they've careened into the hobo section of the highway, where the greasy denizens desperately want to help Grey and Asha.

I'm sorry, I think autocorrect malfunctioned. That shouldn't have read help. It should have been f--king murder. 

But as homicidal a-holes tend to do, it seems they didn't finish the job entirely, and Grey wakes up a quadriplegic. A suicidal one, at that. Realizing that his wife is gone, Grey emphatically wards off anything that could prolong his miserable life, and repeatedly tries to end it all. Too bad the machine that administers his meds is programmed not to kill him. Yep, first a machine nearly killed him, and now one won't let him die.

Luckily for all of us, Grey's old client shows up out of nowhere, and this tech-genius oddball (think Steve Jobs + Elon Musk + Stefon from SNL) offers Grey the titular upgrade for his current condition. While this reclusive weirdo seems more interested in testing his inventions than the actual people they're helping, Grey is all in regardless. Maybe he'll get some answers the police can't. And, while he's out, maybe he can pick up some sweet f--king revenge, too.

Man, in the future, doctor's offices are the worst. 
On the low, Jobbsy von Musk surgically installs an all-encompassing operating system called STEM into Grey's neck, and the results are nothing short of astounding. The mad scientist wants to give Grey his limbs back. Grey, he wants to give those limbs to others. Violently. While the ensuing rampages are exhilarating, they aren't exactly surprising. But the end? Well, considering that I could probably use an enhanced learning system myself, was for me, pretty f--king shocking.

What shouldn't surprise you, are the Yays and Boos for Upgrade. Unless, you know, they actually amuse you this time, then f--k me sideways.

That guy on the left is fine, actually.
But then he started talking about Hereditary.

  • It was a little bit different, sure, but when Grey buckles his wife up just before the crash, I couldn't help but to think of that rad scene in The Faculty.
  • Grey's mom, despite not stabbing a guy in the face 900 times, totally deserves MVP consideration.
  • But Co-MVP, is the guy that holds Grey's drink at the bar. Solid assist, bro.
  • In case you haven't heard, when this one gets bloody, it's basically f--king bananas. The surgery footage early on simply foreshadows what's going to happen later. Except with much less precision...or the desired goal of prolonging life.
  • The first scene when Grey turns himself over to STEM might be one of the coolest scenes in the last five years of action cinema. And Logan Marshall-Green f--king nails the whole thing, honestly.
  • Simon Maiden is the actor who provides the voice for STEM. Uh, it's basically the best f--king voice ever. Like, imagine Siri is a dude. But instead of being helpful and pleasant...he quietly wants to murder everyone.
  • I don't remember it, but if I write down ROBOT FIGHT!!!, I'm assuming it's a Yay.
  • And finally, that f--king ending. While the film ultimately works on it's own, those final five minutes set up an entire f--king franchise perfectly. Please, please Movie God. I beg of you to give me one more Upgrade flick. Theatrically.
Sometimes, this dude gave off an unfortunate Dane Cook-y vibe.
  • So, you're telling me having sex in the driverless car could potentially be interrupted by computer error? This is wholly unacceptable. Oh, and the whole crashing and killing people thing, too.
  • In the future, the police have drones everywhere. But, uh, all they do is record you getting murdered. They don't prevent or deter shit.
  • It's totally nitpicking (um, this whole site it, I realize), but there's no way in Hell that guy orders that car. I know it makes sense for Grey to build cars with his hands....but it doesn't make sense that Elonsky Jobberton orders one.
  • Lots of cool tech. Shitloads, in fact. But the sneeze daggers? Pretty much the Steve Urkel of weaponry. 
  • And finally, for f--k's sake, the couple behind me sounded like some real Make America Great Again type a-holes. Almost ruined the damn movie for me. While talking during the movie should be punishable by castration and or vag-punches, that wasn't even the worst of it. They bitched and moaned through almost all of the trailers (at peak volume, no less). Safe to say they won't be bothering me during Crazy Rich Asians or at least there's that.

We're heading to the beach in the next couple of days, so ideally I'll be machine and device free for a nice stretch. Yep, just me, my lovely wife and our kids, enjoying the sun and the sand. Might even look around at actual things, engage in some conversations that don't involve a well-chosen GIF to punctuate my point.

Unfortunately, as I didn't hit the gym as often as I would have liked, it looks like Grey's not the only guy whose body needs to be upgraded. But I just want to dig holes, you know?

Not graves. 


  1. Oww have fun on your vacation!

    This film sounds rad! All i know is that it is made by Wan's protegee and discount Hardy is in it. This may be the longest summary you ever wrote BTW and it is impresssive that it is probably about 5% of the plot

    1. Hahaha....hopefully we will. We're actually going with friends for the first time...should be a good time.

      It is pretty f--king cool, honestly. 'Discount Hardy' is ABSOLUTELY how I should have referred to him. Whoever that dude is, he does a pretty solid job.

      Damn, I can't get anything past you! Easily the biggest plot summary ever and while it is only 5% of the film, the rest of it is chase 'em and kill 'em (which is a pretty good ratio, I'll admit).

      'impressive'....good one.

  2. I need to see this, just haven't found time to sneak out for it (Mrs. Dell's not interested). Have fun on your vacay!

    1. Thanks, Dell. It was fun...but not necessarily...relaxing? You've got kids. I don't have to explain this to you.

      Let me know if and when you catch this one.