(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Chappie definitely packs an emotional punch, however, the action can be the same old typical robot action.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
I believe movies about robots are getting old. At the beginning they were the pinnacle of sci-fy movies that were enjoyable. Movies such as the original Robocop, Short Circuit, and The Terminator franchise. To the not so great with I Robot, and the Transformers franchise (I kind of consider them as robots), and Bicentennial Man. Each movie all has the same formula of turning a machine into a real human that can backfire badly on the humans. No matter what, it is the same shtick, so it’s in the writers and directors to make it unique. So when Chappie came out, judging by the trailers, it seemed like a cross between Robocop and Short Circuit. Low and behold, I was right.
What I Like: Let’s start with the character main character, the robot Chappie played by Sharlto Coplay. He was a robot that started as a police robot that was damaged during a mission, and was about to be thrown out, but was revived by a scientist named Deon Wilson, played by Dev Patel, who was programmed with a software that made the robot have human emotions along with their skills. At first he was like a child, barely learning how to talk, but his skills accelerated quickly to not only be like a human, but surpass it. He starts having relationships with the people close to him. Like with Wilson who he calls his maker, who knows he was the one that created him and he respects him. Chappie’s morals and values were created because of Wilson. The other relationships was with the drug dealers that kidnapped him for him to help with a heist they need to pay of a debt with a South African drug dealer named Hippo, played by Brandon Auret. One drug dealer is a woman named Yolandi, played by Yolandi Visser, is where ironically Chappie learns about love and compassion. It got to a point where Chappie called her Mother. The other is a drug dealer named Ninja, played by Ninja, who teaches him how to be a street thug and learn how to fight and use weapons. Since Chappie doesn’t want to hurt or kill, Ninja has to manipulate him in doing so. One thing Ninja does teach him is survival which proves crucial to the story. Copley voicing Chappie was definitely unique, he was like a teenage wannabe thug, and it was funny the way he portrayed him. The accent really added a funny and unique touch. What I like most about this movie is the emotion Copley portrays in Chappie. The way he expresses anger, joy, and most of all love really takes an effect on you to actually relate to a robot. His chemistry with the other characters was superb and and shows that Chappie is a member of a family, even though it was dysfunctional. Chappie ends up being a lovable character, like Johnny 5 in the movie Short Circuit, by sacrificing himself to save the people he loves, and when he starts brutally beating up the villain of the movie, instead of killing him, he forgives him and leaves him there. Thought this movie was genius in an emotional level.
The So So: The story was pretty much Robocop. Where in Johannesburg, South Africa, a company called Tetravaal started an army of police robots who end up being reliable and lowering the crime rate in the city. Two people working for Tetravaal wants to one up the robots, but both were denied. One is Wilson who wants to create human intelligence on a robot, which he succeeds in grabbing a robot who was about to be thrown away and creates Chappie. The other is named Vincent Moore, played by Hugh Jackman, who wants to create a flying tank robot called MOOSE, where all it needs is a human brain to function. He gets denied because it is believed to be not necessary, and he bullies his way to create mayhem with the police robots to put his patent to work. The MOOSE looks like the killer robots in Robocop. The action is no different by director Neill Blomkamp’s past movies. It was typical action like in District 9 and Elysium. So the action was typical Blomkamp, and this guy needs to change up his style before he ends up like Michael Bay (and I like Michael Bay).
What I Didn’t Like: The acting from the drug dealers was really horrendous. Ninja and Yolandi were annoying as hell portraying gangsters. Yolandi’s voice was annoying as hell hearing her throughout the whole movie, and Ninja sounded like a wannabe gangster. I found out that they were South Aftican rappers which makes a lot of sense. Add that Hippo guy into the mix with their strong Afrikaans accent, I believe they didn’t portray the South Africans well. To add salt to the wound, the drug dealers had a random Mexican chill nicknamed America, played by Jose Pablo Cantillo. Who dies a brutal death in the hands of the MOOSE machine. They also had a black guy on the crew who gets shot first as well(racism). Also Sigourney Weaver was in this movie playing the CEO of Tetravaal, and really does nothing in this movie.
Overall, if you love Blomkamp’s movies, and typical robot hero movies. You will enjoy this movie. However, I’m getting tired of robots trying to be human. That story angle is older than Clint Eastwood!!!
Rating: 3.5 Stars