120 Min. | Action – Sci-Fi – Thriller | March 2015
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Staring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman
Chappie Review: Neill Blomkamp might be one of the most fascinating storytellers in blockbuster filmmaking today. His Sci-Fi stories are basically an allegory of the third world culture. Chappie now tackles the subject of being raised in a troubling environment. Chappie becomes real engaging when it sticks to that mode, but the same problem of the director stays, as his enthusiasm of blockbuster filmmaking makes its important theme seem lost. It’s not bad adding some explosions, except the major conflict of the plot bogs down its potential, turning it into a generic action film and also has a dumb climax with an ending that hardly makes sense. It should have been straightforward with its social analogy, because there the movie becomes really gripping. There’s actually two stories involved in Chappie, one is how humans fear the artificial intelligence and how it would affect to the future of their society, the other is a robot who has to choose whether he is going to choose two paths, the wish of his maker or the life of an urban thug.
The second story is much fascinating, Chappie is often described as a child who is still learning how the world works. Chappie makes some compelling points on how the robot influences from the reality, the good and the bad. But the film keeps getting hindered by blockbuster elements with a generic arrogant corporal villains, and of course, giant robots and bigger guns. The explosions are fine, but the ideas towards that side hardly felt like it belongs there, or at least helped improving the storyline. It might have first thought that it would make it more thrilling or entertaining, but the gangster side felt more natural at this concept, probably leading to a much powerful experience in the end. But when the third act comes, it keeps sprinkling more ideas that makes its core even more complicated. Chappie is more intriguing when it keeps things smaller and slow, putting aside those bombastic battles and political conflict.
In Chappie, the acting is alright. Sharlto Copley is in motion capture as Chappie and he brings a palpable full of energy, he decently captures the robot’s growth in his environment, he may not be given a full character, but the performance keeps the character shine anyway. Dev Patel obviously does well as the film’s serious heart of this weird world. Ninja and Yolandi plays the fictional version of themselves, which feels pretty self-indulgent, but does fine to the picture anyway, in spite of still wearing the merch of their Die Antwoord and the movie they are in. It seems like Chappie fears that it won’t fit in today’s realm of loud blockbusters, it’s definitely not bold enough to be honest with itself, which is a shame. Overall, “Chappie” is fresh, ballsy, confident and very entertaining. Blomkamp has reclaimed the modern action movie throne. This film and “Kingsman: The Secret Service” help give the first half of 2015 some much-needed energy and should keep viewers coming back for more.