Plot: In the near future, a mechanized police force patrols the streets and deals with lawbreakers — but now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid is stolen and given new programming, he acquires the ability to feel and think for himself. While the robot, dubbed “Chappie (Sharlto Copley),” puzzles out human behavior, the authorities begin to see him as a danger to mankind and order; they will stop at nothing to ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
Review: From the trailers I thought Chappie was just going to be a new version of Short Circuit 2 meets RoboCop; it essentially is but the themes of mankind’s relationship with Artificial Intelligence, family and a side order of R rated action separate it enough to make it thoroughly entertaining.
Sharlto Copley provides the voice of Chappie and makes him one of the most loveable creations of recent cinema. He is photo realistic and made me wonder if they actually did create a real robot. This is a movie which surprised me with its genuine heart and engaging story with characters unlike anything we’ve seen.
This is mostly due to the casting of musicians Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser who are essentially Chappie’s surrogate family; they need him to help complete a heist so they can pay back a local gangster named Hippo.
This is when it deviates from becoming another Short Circuit movie as Chappie learns how to swear and commit crimes, despite his “conscience” telling him it’s wrong. Yo-Landi becomes Chappie’s mother and doesn’t quite approve of Ninja teaching him how to be bad but she knows it’s the only way they can get out of their current predicament.
The movie also has Hugh Jackman complete with awesomely terrible hairstyle as the movie’s villain and I have to say he was exceptionally good at it. You hated him every second he was on screen and he is now one of the best villains of 2015.
Dev Patel plays Deon Wilson who is a technological genius and yet we never really find out much else about him; basically his job and his robots are his life. He is very sympathetic though and he wants the best for Chappie. When he is kidnapped by Ninja and co. he is constantly battling with them as he doesn’t want to see his creation corrupted.
What was refreshing was the international cast ranging from South Africa, India, America and more. One of the reasons I enjoy director Neill Blomkamp’s movies is he likes to shoot in South Africa and despite being filled with action and awesome robots, they also have something to say.
I think Chappie has the most heart of any of his movies but let’s face it, what you all want to hear about is the action and this movie certainly delivers. Comparisons with RoboCop are definitely not unwarranted as Hugh Jackman’s robot MOOSE is nearly identical to ED-209. The climactic battle between the gang and MOOSE is one of the best action sequences of the year and there are several moments of humour as well as some social commentary.
Hans Zimmer’s music score certainly has his recognizable sound even if there isn’t a particularly memorable main theme; it does work perfectly and has an almost 80’s vibe to it.
I still thinking calling the movie Chappie makes it sound like they are advertising dog food which is maybe why it wasn’t a massive box office hit but I see it becoming more of a cult favourite over time.
Overall, Chappie will no doubt be one of my top movies of the year as there is enough humour, heart and R rated action to make it a bit of a must-see. I look forward to seeing what Blomkamp does with the new Alien movie…