Just like the “Because You Watched…” lane that pops up on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.
Blue Beetle was about a teenage boy who was thrust into superherodom when a technologically fantastical piece of equipment implanted itself into his spine. Upgrade (2018) was about a paralyzed man who has a technologically fantastical piece of equipment implanted into his spine and becomes an assassin out for revenge. And if you enjoyed the former for its fast-paced action, quick wit, and familiar tale of the hero’s journey and you’re looking for something a bit darker and more mature, then Upgrade is what you’re looking for.
Directed by veteran Saw writer Leigh Whannell and starring Tom Hardy-lookalike Logan Marshall-Green, Upgrade is about Grey, a man who is victim of a hit job that left him paralyzed from the neck down and killed his wife before his eyes. As it turns out, being friends with tech moguls has its advantages, as he is soon implanted with a new chip that injects a super-A.I. into his body. This new program can take over his body, and as you might imagine, has killer skills which he then uses to hunt down his wife’s killer.
The film turns violent, bloody, and sinister fast, but balances out that mood with light moments of dark humor. Marshall-Green plays the man not in control of his body well, creating awkward-looking but believable moments of robotic movements and violence. While the family dynamics that are so prevalent in Blue Beetle are missing, the bloody carnage that often takes its place in Upgrade is a welcome treat for lovers of R-rated action. If what you want after watching Blue Beetle is an adult take on the same idea, Upgrade is a great choice. Just a funny, bloody time.