Logan Marshall-Green

REVIEW: Upgrade (2018)

After a brutal attack that leaves his wife (Melanie Vallejo) dead and himself a quadriplegic, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) feels his life isn’t worth living. When an artificial intelligence implant called STEM is offered to him, Grey is able to move again and with his newfound abilities he seeks revenge for his wife’s murder.

Upgrade is really clever while never being obnoxious with it. The basic premise is something we’ve all seen before – having a man seek revenge/justice for his wife/girlfriend/family’s murder is the starting point for so many action/thriller films. With Upgrade it it takes that starting point and takes it to new and interesting places.

Upgrade is set in the new future where technology is so advanced. There are self-driving cars, smart houses, and the integration between humans and machinery seen as the norm. Grey is a guy who prefers to not rely on technology and to build things himself, so when he’s suddenly put in the position where he’s near enough defenceless without technology it makes things challenging for him as he has to relearn his body – both when he’s paralysed and when he can suddenly move again thanks to STEM.

STEM is like its own character. Grey can here its voice in his head and they have these conversations, discussing how to find the people who killed his wife. Stem can also take complete control of Grey’s body which lead to some very violent and innovative fight sequences. They really are great, and Marshall-Green does a great job as his body is moving robotically but brutally but the expressions on his face (which he always has complete control over) are often scared, confused and shocked by what he’s doing. His performance is all around great as you can clearly see the difference between not only when STEM has control and not, but also how Grey was before the attack.

Upgrade is a great revenge action flick but it’s also one of those films that has a decent amount of substance to it. In this world where reliance on technology is so great, there’s ethical dilemmas about what Grey has done to his body and how he can allow something to take control of it. And even outside of Grey’s situation the little bits of world-building that show how everyone is reliant on technology, surveillance and AI is interesting.

Upgrade is tense and thrilling and the action sequences really stand out due to how well they’re shot and how creative they are. The violence is sometimes pretty gruesome so be aware of that, but it’s also surprisingly funny thanks to the dynamic between Grey and STEM. Upgrade really is one of those films that you hear a load of great stuff about, and it does indeed live up to the hype. 4/5.

REVIEW: The Invitation (2015)

the invitation movie posterWill (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corineadli) are invited to his former home by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman) for a lavish dinner party. But as the night progresses, Will can’t help but feel that something sinister is in the air.

The Invitation is a gripping and eerie film. You see everything from Will’s point of view so like him, you start to get the feeling that something is not quite right. The people gathered at the dinner party are mostly old friends who haven’t really seen each other for two years meaning there’s a lot of information about them that Will doesn’t know.

Throughout the film, there’s flashbacks and characters take moments to have private conversations which gives you all you need to know to piece together how all these people know each other and why they might not have talked for two years. The Invitation definitely doesn’t talk down to its audience which is much appreciated.

The Invitation is a film that slowly builds the tension. This is great as through the evening Will tries to fight his fight-or-flight instinct as he wants to be a polite guest even though he can’t help but feel something is very wrong. However, the film struggles to find that line between being a slow-building, interesting film and just being slow. You have an uneasy feeling and are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s a long wait but when that shoe does finally drop, it’s a great payoff.

The Invitation is suspenseful thriller, set primarily in one location. It gives you a creepy feeling and will definitely make you reconsider when you next receive a posh invite to a dinner party. 4/5.