Neill Blomkamp is back with another interesting film set in a similar dystopian future like District 9. Chappie takes place in Johannesburg, where crime is kept under control by police robots that carry minimalist Artifical Intelligence, but whose creator, Deon, see’s massive potential. Played by Dev Patel, Deon installs a patched AI into a written off robot, thus Chappie is born.
Unfortunately, his parents are real-life South African rappers Die Antwoord. They steal the robot from Deon thinking they will be able to use it to turn off all the other robots, and thus steal a load of money they owe to their boss. As Chappie has essentially just been born, they need to teach him the ropes of being a ‘gangsta’. Watching him walk like a ‘G’, and shoot his gun on its side to show how cool he is, shows how hilariously bad his parents are at what they do.
Hugh Jackman plays Vincent, Deon’s arch rival who has also built a robot called the Moose – a tank on legs which doesn’t get the green light due to Deon’s current robots. After finding out what has happened, he uses it to his advantage to show everyone how flawed the current system is and why his robot should be used by the police.
Chappie has some good laughs while also raising some valid points about A.I., but overall the film doesn’t have the same status as District 9. There are just too many other characters, and Chappie just doesn’t get the space to develop. You can see the struggle as they try to give screen time to all the characters and make the plot fit around them, and the hilarious acting Die Antwoord is just bad (but thankfully works)!