Saturday, March 7, 2015


Plot: Robot designer Deon wants to upload his consciousness program into a spare police robot, but his boss (Sigourney Weaver) won't let him, so he steals the robot and does it anyway. The robot fall into the hands of counter-culture bandits Ninja (Ninja), Amerika (Jose Pablo Cantillo), and Yolanda (Yo-Landi Visser). Yolanda falls in love with the childlike Chappie (Shallto Copley), and he calls her Mommy. 

Deon's rival at the robot company Vincent (Hugh Jackman), disables all the police robots to make Deon look bad. Deon struggles to fix Chappie, and in the meantime all the criminals rampage around the city. 

Ninja and America take Chappie to rob an armored car, and lie to Chappie because he is programed not to break the law. 

In the end, Vincent and Chappie face-off, and the movie veers off in an unexpected direction.[imdb]    [photos]

Review: Chappie was quite a ride. Set in an absurdist future Johanessburg, the beginning is light and dull as we meet the outrageous and silly outlaws. It gets darker as Chappie gets beaten up, and tricked into crime. A major turn happens when Chappie starts thinking about his death, which is when he runs out of batteries. The pace picks up, the philosophical allegories pile on, and we get science fiction action. 

There is a term paper worth of philosophical ideas in Chappie. Obviously Chappie is a like a slave, but he also like an entitled police officer oppressing the poor people. The idea that Chappie has a soul despite being a machine says something about religious views of the self. There is also a science fiction version of immortality similar to Battleship Galatica. 

Hugh Jackman is a highlight. He played an outstanding villain, and he looks so happy when he was operating his evil robot. Dev Patel plays Deon earnestly, but his character doesn't have enough interesting dialog. 

Chappie is very mis-represented by its trailer, which look like Short Circuit, but it is violent, and not funny, although it is absurdly & surreal. 

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp who also directed Elysium, which I liked, and District 9, which was only ok.

The Music: Hans Zimmer's soundtrack was great. I wish I could buy that opening song.

The Visuals: The art direction, especially the graffiti, was very cool. They even put out a book on it. 

Rating: 2.5 stars: Chappie is mostly dull, but it has fun parts, and it has some thoughtful ideas. This is a 2 star movie that I barely recommend based, but kicked up 1/2 star because of its ambition and ideas. It is not fun enough to watch for 3 stars. 

More: Yo-Landi is a South African singer and rapper. She wears the same T-shirt in the movie as she did in one of her videos.