Some well-choreographed action scenes can’t help low-budget sci-fi thriller Upgrade, well, make the grade.
Logan Marshall-Green stars as Grey, a muscle-car-loving geek who fixes classic autos for rich people in the future. After he and his girlfriend (Betty Gabriel) have an accident in her self-driving car (I don’t know how I will ever be able to get into one of those things), Grey is left paralyzed and hungry for revenge.
One of Grey’s clients, a tech giant named Eron (Harrison Gilbertson), has a solution: an implant called Stem that will bridge the gap between his brain and severed spinal cord. What he doesn’t tell Grey is that Stem will internally speak to him with a voice like that of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and that when Stem takes over his body, he will have ninja skills.
This sounds fun, but many of the performers in this movie seem like they’ve never been in front of a camera before. While there’s plenty of action in the flick, and that action is often good, most of the movie consists of characters speaking terribly delivered dialogue. It’s also lacking a much-needed sense of humor.
If they made an Upgrade sizzle reel—a 15-minute summary of all the cool fight scenes and chases—that would be worth viewing. Unfortunately, this movie is a lot longer than that.
Upgrade is now showing at Mary Pickford Is D’Place Entertainment (36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City; 760-328-7100;); Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 844-462-7342); and Century Theatres at The River and XD (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).