In this modern Hollywood trend of honoring those classic movies that came before, Upgrade seems like just another 80's-style revenge flick. While writer/director Leigh Whannell (co-creator of the Insidious and Saw series) isn't shy about how films like Terminator inspired the film, Upgrade rises above simply being a product of its influences.
At first, Upgrade comes across as rather cliché with its initial set-up. Old-fashioned man loses a loved one after they get killed by mysterious bad guys, then gets paralyzed by his wife's killers. He's then offered a chance at revenge thanks to a revolutionary technology called STEM that will give him special abilities beyond anything he expected.
So far, sounds like something you likely have seen before. However, instead of settling for just a Robocop ripoff, Whannell sets his sights on something greater. Once Grey receives the STEM implant and they make contact, the film realizes its greater potential and keeps you engaged from there. This is in large part due to Whannell's sleek direction, a strong central performance from Logan Marshall-Green, and stylish action scenes unlike any movie in recent memory. Because of this, Upgrade warrants your attention and is a quality example of what more original ideas in Hollywood can offer moviegoers, although that's not to say it's without a single flaw.