UPGRADE — Review by Susan Granger

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If you’re into grisly, gruesome, dystopian sci-fi, you might watch this low-budget, revenge saga from writer/director Leigh Whannel (“Saw,” “Insidious”). One evening when automobile mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) takes his tech-exec wife, Asha (Melanie Vallejo), to visit a reclusive client, billionaire inventor Eron (Harrison Gilbertson), Asha’s self-driving car goes awry – after which she is killed by a gang of thugs and he is left as a quadriplegic. Continue reading…

Grief-stricken and severely depressed, Grey is suicidal – until Eron offers an experimental ‘biomechanical modification’ which, when inserted into his spinal cord, will ‘upgrade’ his paralyzed physique.

Known as STEM, it’s an Artificial Intelligence entity – voiced by Simon Maiden in a formal monotone that resembles HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” STEM enables Grey not only to regain control of his body but also to experience extraordinary physical prowess.

“Do not get overconfident, Grey,” STEM warns.

Keeping his brand-new mobility a secret from the detective (Betty Gabriel) investigating his case, Grey becomes a vigilante, determined to find the hoodlums and wreak vengeance.

There’s a particularly ridiculous scene in which a bad guy sneezes, emitting a swarm of sharp nanobots that fly up an adversary’s nose, shredding his brain.

FYI: When Grey goes to the apartment house to find someone named ‘Jamie,’ he looks at the list of buzzers, one of which is labeled ‘J. Wan,’ a subtle tribute to James Wan, Leigh Whannel’s “Saw” collaborator. And the name ‘Eron’ is obviously supposed to evoke thoughts of Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Made by the same action/horror-specialty company that did “Get Out,” it’s nowhere near as effective and intriguing.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Upgrade” is an auto-piloted 5, yet another schlocky techno thriller

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.