So was it worth the wait?
Man, I was thinking of seeing this movie last week and thought the marketing for this film was bad. So I postponed a week. This week, I start seeing the real fan feedback and was kicking myself for not seeing it last week. This was a really great film of humanity vs. the machine world we see ourselves growing a larger part of. The question is are we going too far with automated IT systems to help humans operate the world we live in. This film questions that premise.
Well one is a hands dirty mechanic Grey Trace working on old mechanical cars that have been largely abandoned in the new world they live in. He makes a classic muscle car of the 1970s for a special CEO creator Eron that has designed the newest AI chip that actually can control a full human nervous system. His wife also works in robotics and becomes enthralled to meet this CEO, who is the leader competitor in the business. On the way home a tragedy strikes in a terrible car jacking and murder of his beloved wife. So Grey Trace is drawn to find the killers as the police embodied by Detective Cortez seem to be doing absolutely nothing to solve the case.
This is the slow, winding plot discovery you've all been craving for. In the beginning, we start with the attackers on the car and Grey's family. They actually attack Grey in the neck and we find out later they have severed his spinal cord making him quadriplegic, rending our hero completely helpless to the AI tools in his house. This is a devastating blow as his whole life was defined as a hands on person, so he is completely ready to end his life. Then enter Eron with a solution to his paralysis of a brand-new technology to make him whole again and give him control of his limbs again.
The first villains in the plot turn out to be some type of soldiers that are possibly connected to the wife Asha Trace's employer. As Grey dives deeper into the plot, he starts to come full circle and realize he has entered a new state of humanity. Unfortunately for Grey, his AI chip is even more advanced than Kobolt's tech, which leads to unintended ruthlessness in Grey.
Compared to say Annihilation or Arrival, I loved the futuristic soundtrack describing the moodiness, danger and tension in the movie. In Annihilation, the soundtrack sounds like a hopeless crutch for a poorly shot film and Arrival soundtrack is just flat out annoying as hell. I think Blade Runner 2049 also had some bad music occasionally, but it was more due to overly long shot sequences.
In Upgrade, the soundtrack is just perfect, not too high in pitch, not annoying, just right. Cinematography was pretty well done as well. I think the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the feature. Not since Baby Driver have I felt so connected to the movie. In my last review, Solo had a terrible soundtrack in that it just didn't sound like Star Wars. That movie was a train wreck not well glued together somehow. In Upgrade, the execution is flawless: great music, great acting, great story, proper suspense and creepy tech to make us all question what Boston Dynamics is thinking of creating running robot cheetahs, Russians training robots to shoot guns and police drones.
We may all be entering the reality posed in Upgrade or even Terminator within a few generations.
I do love the idea of the challenge of humans fighting robots in the future. It just seems like destiny if the machines can be built to be robust to survive the environment. I think currently these machines are too susceptible to dust and weather to be seriously effective yet. Below I covered one of my favorite movie trilogies the Matrix. I have the duality that Morpheus poses to Neo in the beginning of the film that kicks off the entire adventure. In my work, I dive beneath the surface to the real cyber war being fought between China and the US that the latest president seems to be addressing on IP theft. The Matrix code here has been replaced by 61398, which is a Chinese military hacking group to steal tech IP around the world. The theft even goes further than tech, in that they have literally factories specializing in forgery paintings, fake Louis Vuitton purses, fake Rolexes, etc. Basically all their 8% a year growth is based off mostly theft by the government passed down to cronies.