Visionary filmmaker Neill Blomkamp is back with his third directorial feature ‘Chappie’ which centres around a destroyed police droid in South Africa which is scheduled to be destroyed, but is then saved by Deon (Dev Patel) who is a programmer at the company where the police droids are created, who has cracked the programming for A.I which he wishes to test at his home on the droid, but is then sabotaged by a local gang who are fronted by the South African Rave group ‘Die Antwoord’. The gang, who owe a lot of money to a rival gang member, decide to make Dion put the A.I into the broken droid to use for their benefit. As soon as the A.I is implemented into the droid, we are gifted to Chappie. With an increased adaptability and intelligence to the human brain, Chappie shows the signs of a toddler by becoming very timid and unable to speak, but within minutes, Chappie learns the ability to speak words and within a day, Chappie is in full motion and turns out to be the funniest robot you’ll ever see.
Voiced by Sharlto Copley, the actor brings Chappie to life on screen but not only that, Sharlto Copley projects the emotions of him brilliantly throughout the film. Chappie is full of life and enjoys learning new things, but he soon learns to adapt to the real world by being lied to and eventually being used for heists and to aid in criminal activity. A huge on improvement on ‘Elysium’, Neill Blomkamp has thrown himself some armbands in what was some very choppy water after ‘Elysium’. ‘Chappie’ is the ultimate improvement on his previous feature. The action may be toned down, but the emotional aspect and the great story-telling, with a dash of comedic element throughout the film make ‘Chappie’ a massively enjoyable film for the masses. ‘District 9’ was the exact reason why it worked so well, the emotional baggage and the humour was the reasons why it is loved so much, but not only that, but the South African director proves yet again that he is one of the most impressive directors in visuals. Deciding to shoot in Johannesburg again was a big risk personally for me, but Neill Blomkamp uses the city in such a unique way. Watching ‘Chappie’ knowing that Neill Blomkamp has got the job to direct the next ‘Alien’ film got me excited, and I’m very much looking forward to it!
There are a couple of disappointing aspects in the film though, but they aren’t huge issues. I thoroughly enjoyed Hugh Jackman in the role of the villain, not only that, but I respected the mullet he sports too; but for me, when he was on screen, he brought that star power and carried the film when Chappie wasn’t, albeit, it wasn’t much, but I feel Hugh Jackman was massively underused. The other disappointing aspect was the excessive use of the band ‘Die Antwoord’; in a close second, the South African band were the leading roles behind Chappie which disappointed me massively, especially when you have Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver at your disposal.
Apart from that, I really, really enjoyed ‘Chappie’. I was engrossed throughout the whole film and I instantly fell in love with Chappie. Sharlto Copley has done a fantastic job of bringing the robot to life and I could of easily watched another hour. Heart-warming, hilarious throughout which was massively unexpected and superb visuals, ‘Chappie’ gets 4 out of 5 stars.