From the brief setup and first exhilarating droid deployment (complete with bot’s-eye view camerawork), Chappie appears to fulfill the premise’s potential to be this director’s masterwork.
Watch with fascination as the infantile AI evolves from timid tabula rasa into titanium thug, showcasing Blomkamp’s imagination and attention to detail as played out through Copley’s expertly captured performance.
But the humans feel artificial compared to this most human of robots. A slowly strung-out, weak plot and the horrendous miscasting of rappers Die Antwoord wrap the film in dissatisfaction. Even the usually dependable Patel and Jackman couldn’t save this one.
Within Chappie, there is an almost perfect short film; an inventive take on a mechanical consciousness developing under unusual circumstances. If only the additional 100 minutes could have sustained this.
CAST: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Die Antwoord
DIRECTOR: Neill Blomkamp
WRITERS: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
SYNOPSIS: In the near future, crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.