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Chappie Review

Chappie Review

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, Yo-Landi Visser (Rated MA – 125 min).

At first glance, this looked to be an exciting science-fiction urban thriller; especially as director Neil Blomkamp was responsible for the absorbing District 9 and better than average Elysium.

Set in near future South Africa, Johannesburg needs to reduce crime levels fast and becomes the first police force to introduce indestructible droids known as Scouts, to fight the anarchy riddled streets. Scientist Dean Wilson (Dev Patel) has a stolen Scout unit in which he modifies to obtain human-like sensitivity with self dimension, then naming him Chappie. Childlike at first, amusing and timid, Chappie soon begins to get physical when needed.

Using his natural Australian accent ramped up with an almost embarrassing ocker slang vocabulary, Hugh Jackman plays Vincent Moore, former military commander now engineer for the robotic police force and wants to use certain droids in battle-royale mode only. The human-like artificial intelligence infused into Chappie does not sit well with Vincent with his hatred for the creation becoming a ticking bomb, enraging him causing imminent furore.

Political social commentary hits like a sledgehammer throughout the plot and in the end, all we end up with is a finale of robots fighting that even Transformers fans may be yawning throughout. Sigourney Weaver pops in as the development CEO but even her brilliance does little to enhance the dumb proceedings, I kept waiting for her to say ‘Bring in Robocop and be done with this mess’. To be fair there is some substance to enjoy for sci-fi fans. The occasional documentary style filming holds a few decent ideas, great effects help too, but nothing seems that original.

1986 classic Short Circuit did a much better, family-friendly version. Punk inspired Yo-Landi Visser of South African trance band ‘Die Antwoord’ makes a wicked sidekick in her debut, however sorry to report our much admired Hugh is hard to take seriously as a villain sporting a mullet and saying dumb, stereotypical slang.

Chappie continues the alarming trend of 2015, the Year of the Flop.

Shane A. Bassett

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