UP­GRADE

Joined at the chip

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 7 JaN­Uary 2018 | 15 | dVd Cre­ator leigh Whan­nell Cast lo­gan Mar­shall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Har­ri­son Gilbert­son, Melanie Vallejo

Saw writer Leigh Whan­nell’s SF/hor­ror ac­tioner didn’t ex­actly set the box of­fice alight; sad­dling it with a ti­tle as­so­ci­ated with the white-knuckle thrill of click­ing “No thanks” on iTunes alerts surely can’t have helped. At the time of writ­ing it ranks 120th of the movies re­leased in the last year. But it de­serves to do bet­ter in the long term.

It comes across like a slice of di­rect-to-video ’90s cy­ber­punk, ex­cept done re­ally well. In the old days, Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger would have been a shoe-in for the role of Grey (own-brand-Tom Hardy Lo­gan Mar­shall-Green), a me­chanic who’s left quad­ri­plegic and wid­owed af­ter a self-driv­ing car crashes and mys­te­ri­ous goons pump bul­lets into both him and his wife. Im­planted with STEM, a revo­lu­tion­ary AI chip, by a tech-bil­lion­aire client, the Six Mil­lion Dol­lar Man-ed grease mon­key then goes gun­ning for re­venge, with the AI’s voice in his head act­ing as a kind of su­per­pow­er­grant­ing wing­man/ac­com­plice.

The script is crammed with ab­sur­di­ties – the will­ing­ness of the cops to hand over records; the length of time it takes the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer (Get Out’s Betty Gabriel) to tail Grey – even be­fore we fac­tor in its out­landish near-fu­ture tech: lit­eral hand-guns, with crims blast­ing bul­lets from weapons im­planted in their arms; deadly nanites you sneeze in a vic­tim’s face. Ex­pect reg­u­lar guf­faws. But the film’s pulpy, pacy, gory, grungy, darkly funny and ut­terly pre­pos­ter­ous mash-up of Philip K Dick, David Cro­nen­berg and Death Wish is so much damn fun that you may also feel the urge to punch the air. A nailed-on cert for fu­ture cult sta­tus.

Ex­tras Not a sausage. Boo! Ian Berriman

Pulpy, pacy, gory, grungy and darkly funny

When Grey vis­its an apart­ment build­ing to find a hacker, one buzzer’s la­belled “J Wan”, af­ter Saw di­rec­tor James Wan.

This game of five fin­ger fil­let was off to a bad start.

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