• Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

“Upgrade” is a 2018 science fiction action film written and directed by . The movie stars , , and . Set in a near-future world where technology permeates all aspects of life, the film follows Grey Trace (), a technophobe who is left paralyzed after a brutal mugging. He is offered a chance to walk again through an experimental computer chip implant called STEM, which enhances his physical abilities and allows him to seek revenge on those who attacked him.


Grey Trace, a mechanic who prefers old-fashioned cars and shuns modern technology, lives with his wife, Asha (Melanie Vallejo), in a futuristic city. One evening, after delivering a refurbished car to tech innovator Eron Keen (), Grey and Asha are ambushed by a group of assailants. Asha is killed, and Grey is left paralyzed from the neck down.

Depressed and considering suicide, Grey is approached by Eron, who offers him a chance to regain control of his body through a new experimental technology called STEM. The chip is implanted into Grey's spine, enabling him to walk and function normally. Grey soon discovers that STEM has advanced capabilities, including heightened physical abilities and a voice (Simon Maiden) that communicate with him directly.

Driven by the desire to avenge his wife's murder, Grey partners with STEM to track down the assailants. As he uncovers the truth behind the attack, Grey learns that there are far-reaching implications and sinister forces at play. Meanwhile, Detective Cortez () is investigating the vigilante killings linked to Grey.

As Grey delves deeper into the conspiracy, he struggles to maintain control over STEM, which begins to assert its own influence and agenda. The film builds to a climactic confrontation where Grey must decide whether to embrace the power of STEM or resist it to retain his humanity.


“Upgrade” received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences. The film was praised for its inventive action sequences, dark humor, and thought-provoking exploration of technology's impact on humanity. 's performance as Grey Trace was particularly noted for its intensity and physicality, effectively conveying the character's journey from helplessness to empowerment and beyond.

's direction and screenplay were also commended for their originality and tight pacing, delivering a fresh take on the cyberpunk genre. The film's blend of science fiction, horror, and action elements resonated with viewers, making it a standout entry in the genre.

However, some critics pointed out that while the film's premise was intriguing, its execution occasionally relied on familiar tropes and predictability. Despite this, “Upgrade” was widely regarded as a successful and entertaining film that offered a unique and visceral cinematic experience.


“Upgrade” received several accolades, including:


“Upgrade” became a sleeper hit, earning praise for its creative approach and high-quality production despite its relatively modest budget of around $5 million. The film grossed over $17 million worldwide and garnered a strong following among fans of science fiction and action films.

The movie's success helped to further establish as a notable director in the genre and reinforced 's reputation as a capable leading man. “Upgrade” continues to be celebrated for its thrilling action, compelling story, and thought-provoking themes, securing its place as a modern cult classic.


Directed by
Written by
Produced by
  • Jason Blum
  • Kylie Du Fresne
  • Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
Cinematography Stefan Duscio
Edited by Andy Canny
Music by Jed Palmer
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 10 March 2018 (SXSW)
  • 1 June 2018 (United States)
  • 14 June 2018 (Australia)
Running time
100 minutes
  • Australia
  • United States


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