UPGRADE [R] A
There’s a glorious simplicity at the center of writer-director Leigh Whannell’s new flick “Upgrade,” which, at first blush, might appear to be a B-movie remix where “The Matrix” meets “Memento” in an alley on the outskirts of “Death Wish.” In its neo-gritty near-future, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is an old-school mechanic who rebuilds muscle cars that people actually drive, while his wife works for a faceless corporation devoted to technology intent on removing humanity from the human race. They fall prey to some robo-creeps, leaving the wife dead and Grey a quadriplegic with no choice but to accept a surgical AI transplant that will guarantee that he can fight fire with fire, enroute to some sort of twisted comeuppance. Revenge is sweeter when this low-tech Everyman is forced to team up with his internal AI buddy (a voice in his head seeking to gain some semblance of freedom of its own), but Whannell (writer & producer on the “Saw” franchise as well as a player in front of and behind the camera for the “Insidious” series) knows just when to push us past the obvious detour, down a newer, darker path along the superhighway. Keep a sharp eye out for the Whannell/James Wan Easter Eggs too.