Review of Upgrade & Action Point
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This! Reviewing Movies I've watched recently.

Howdy Y'all! I'm back, and I have got a couple of really good flicks on the docket, this month. Somehow, my radar has, mostly, steered me away from craptacular flicks lately. Both of these movies are brand spanking new, and both are worth watching!

First up, Upgrade (2018), written and directed by Leigh Whannell (wrote Saw, Insidious, Cooties)and produced by Blumhouse. Starring relative newcomers Logan Marshall–Green, Melanie Vallejo, Steve Danielsen, and Harrison Gilbertson.

Here's the IMDB synopsis: "Set in the near–future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self–identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem."

Sounds kind of familiar? Formulaic? For the basics, yes it is. For the total execution, HELL NO!

Whannell took a "classic" sci–fi premise, and gave it a make–over. Largely unpredictable, the story built up the intensity nicely. Whannell was able to weave his horror elements in, not just in the action and violence, but in the cerebral mindsets of the characters, as well. And believe me, the fight scenes in this movie, are fresh! With interesting camera tricks, body movements that border on "How did they do that?", and graphic gore, just to remind us, who made this flick.

The only credit I recognize Logan Marshall–Green from is, he played the first "Shocker" in Spider–Man: Homecoming. A memorable scene, but not enough to showcase the actor. He was really good in this role. Played the lead well, without being any sort of bad ass. But, he really shined in the fight scenes. He is playing a quadriplegic, with a computer chip that allows him to move everything in his body from the neck down. He is not a tough fighter, so at one point, he allows the chip to take over control, to fight. His movements become very rigid, and machine like, but, sometimes in a fight, you need to turn/tilt/move your head, which the chip didn't control! During the fights, you will see one of Green's hands move his head, while maintaining the fight! It's quick. It's hard to spot sometimes, but it's there! That is some AMAZING fight choreography! A small detail that would normally get overlooked.

Not much to really say about the cast in general, besides, everyone was good in their roles. No one stood out, whether good or bad. They all played their parts well, which in my book, is not a bad thing.

I am really liking a trend we are seeing lately. Old story concepts getting renovated, and being made fresh again!

Overall, Upgrade delivers a great, dark and gritty Sci–Fi/Action/Horror experience, that you don't want to miss. 4 out of 5 stars!

Switching gears now! HOLD ON! (Slams the brakes on the article, getting launched through the windshield, and landing in a cactus patch) The next flick is the comedy, Action Point (2018). Written by Johnny Knoxville (WHA??), Derek Freda, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, and Mike Judge. Directed by Tim Kirkby. Starring Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, and Eleanor Worthington–Cox.

The IMDB synopsis doesn't tell the right tale, so here's my own. "A Grandfather reminisces to his granddaughter, about the last summer he spent with his teenage daughter, while running a local, rather dangerous, amusement park."

By now, you're probably thinking, Knoxville and Pontius? Is this a Jackass movie? Well, it is. Kind of.

What they gave us is a quirky story, about a drunken deadbeat, with his band of weirdos, running an "enter at your own risk" amusement park, trying to raise the ante to keep afloat. All while the deadbeat bonds with his daughter, being told by the elderly deadbeat, as they bond with their granddaughter. Then they mix in the "Jackass" stunt work.

Sounds weird, I know. But dammit! IT WORKS! The story is heartwarming, and funny. Just packed into a weird shell.

OH! And by the way…this is loosely based on an actual amusement park, Action Point, in Vernon, New Jersey, in the late '70s through the '80s! WOW!

Knoxville shines not only as the drunken deadbeat, but plays off a bit of his "Bad Grandpa" schtick, which he is really good at(if that's your cup o' tea). But I cannot understand how he is still alive, after all these years? SO MANY INJURIES! Here is the list from this movie: four concussions, two blow–out fractures of his left eye, broken hand, broken orbital lamina, lost two & half teeth, got multiple cuts, and torn meniscus. INSANE!

The real surprise in this movie, for me, was Chris Pontius. As the messed up, stoner, weirdo, Uncle Benny, he pretty stole the show! Hilarious! Sure he probably wasn't "acting" a whole lot, but it worked.

Special shout–out goes to Tag the Bear! If they had an Oscar for Best Live Animal Performance in a Comedy, he should win!

Now, I know, Jackass is not for everyone. But, aside from a couple of the gags with Grandpa Knoxville, the "Jackass" stunts weren't really forced in. They were shot well, and didn't detract from the overall presentation. (I hope that made sense.)

All in all, I loved this movie. Funny, touching, and DIFFERENT! I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Additional note: As I am sure you are aware, these reviews are MY opinion. I am no expert, by any means. Just a fan, with my own point of view. Now, if you want to discuss any of my reviews, or if you have any film suggestions for me, please head on over to The World of Myth Forums where I have created a "Hey, I Watched This!" Discussion Thread.

Hope to hear from you, soon!