Coming to theatres this Friday from director Neill Blomkamp and Columbia Pictures is a metal champion found in CHAPPIE.
The cities are being over run by crime and in Johannesburg, the police have turned to robots to help. Created by inventor Deon (Dev Patel), ‘Scouts’ are now part of the force. A robotics firm, Tetravaal, and it’s CEO Bradley (Sigourney Weaver) are thrilled with the business orders they are getting.
One inventor that isn’t so happy is Vincent (Hugh Jackman) who wants chaos so he can unleash his invention called the ‘Moose’ that relies on human control. Jealous that Deon is getting the attention, he looks for a way to take it all down.
Deon wants to create something more so in his spare time he discovers a way to give the Scouts the ability to think for themselves. When Bradley shoots him down, Deon finds a Scout that is being scrapped and decides to make it work.
What he doesn’t see coming is a rouge group of criminals who want to shut the police Scouts off! Deon is kidnapped by Ninja (Ninja), Yolandi (Yo-Landi Visser) and Amerika (Jose Cantillo). Once they discover Deon’s robot, they know what they want – a robot on their side.
The problem is that the robot will come alive with the mind of a child. Given the name Chappie (voiced by Sharlto Copley) by Yolandi, she has a soft spot for him. Ninja, however, wants to turn him into a criminal.
Vincent discovers what Deon is doing with Chappie and begins his reign of chaos that puts them all at risk – human and robot alike!
FINAL WORD: Patel as Deon is a young man who sees the idea of a robot in quite a different way. Wanting to discover if what he thinks is possible, he never stops to ask himself if he really should. Caught in the middle of the company’s desires and what’s right for Chappie – it’s the bad guys who might take over.
Visser as Yolandi “Mommy” is just that, the Mom who tries to make things okay for Chappie but it’s difficult to be on both sides. Ninja as “Daddy” is a piece of work from the get-go. He wants what he wants and Chappie is a tool to get it.
Jackman as Vincent is just absolutely creepy from start to finish. I half expected him to Wolverine some finger blades when his character got mad. Jackman has a little bit of a mean streak and Vincent has Chappie in his sites!
The winner here is Copley – absolutely. A robotic character can come to life with the right voice or fade out of memory quickly. I can’t remember the last time a robot made me laugh so hard. From getting gangster to beating up Jackman I was thoroughly entertained by Chappie’s antics but even more so by the way he spoke.
Other cast include: Brandon Auret as Hippo, Johnny Selma as Pitbull, Maurice Carpede as the Police Chief and a cameo by Anderson Cooper.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give CHAPPIE three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Yes, it was a little like watching a combination of A.I., I, ROBOT, ROBOCOP and even DISTRICT 9 which is what I was afraid of in some ways. That being said, although I caught some of those films here I was completely charmed by CHAPPIE himself. From start to finish the film is why we go to the theatres – to be entertained.
Here we also see a little bit of Chappie’s inability to understand why humans are so hurtful and destructive to him and one human to another. I think Joshua said it best, “the only way to win is not to play!” – WARGAMES (1983). It is an interesting twist regarding Deon’s character and something you’ll have to see for yourself.
I’m not going to say there isn’t a part of me that wishes from the deepest depths that Blomkamp would just stop everything he’s doing and please, please give us DISTRICT 10. The opening footage and reporting is like DISTRICT 9 along with a lot of the cinematography so why keep us crazy waiting!
In the end – humanity’s last hope isn’t human!