With sci-fi twists and smart writing, revenge flick ‘Upgrade’ lives up to its name (Movie review)

I

t’s a damned shame “Upgrade” is going to fail at the box office. While built from standard sci-fi action parts, it really is something of a marvel, with crisp action, solid writing and brilliant execution.

Writer-director Leigh Whannell (writer of the “Insidious” saga) milks every cent of his shoestring budget and then some, and manages some great performances from a mostly unknown cast, gamely led by Logan Marshall-Green.

This is a fun movie, something precisely built to satisfy fans of action, sci-fi and gore, and especially rewarding to those like me who sit at the intersection of all three.

This is a fun movie, something precisely built to satisfy fans of action, sci-fi and gore, and especially rewarding to those like me who sit at the intersection of all three.

With its story of a quadriplegic technophobe teaming up with a sentient AI to get revenge on those that injured him and killed his wife, the story plays like “Taken” if it were an episode of “Black Mirror,” and it is every bit as cool as that sounds.

While the broad strokes of the story come shopworn and familiar, the quirks in the execution and the way the story reveals itself and ratchets things up adds a veneer of freshness. Nothing plays out like you would expect it might in a lazier script, which makes this a much better take on the similar films that have come before it.

I can’t suggest this movie strongly enough. Go see it, and do it quick, because if tonight’s one-man audience is any indication, it will be gone by next week.