The movie takes place in a Johannesburg only one year from present day. In 2016, crime rates are so high that the police finally buy robots to help enforce the law on the streets. Deon (Dev Patel) is responsable for creating these robots. However, he is always striving for the perfect AI and finally manages to create an intelligence capable of feeling, learning and making decisions.
Just as he is about to upload that consciousness to a battered robot which was about to be destructed, all chaos breaks loose.
I don’t usually go for the big special effects films because they tend to have crappy plots. However, the concept intrigued me.
For the most part, I was enthralled by the movie. There were even a couple of overwhelming scenes where I felt crushed. I never thought I would feel sorry for a robot, but dang, those scenes were well done. Chappie’s movements paired with his physical and verbal reactions really got to me.
There have been quite a few movies done about intelligent robots in the past few years. However, I have never watched one quite like Chappie. You see, when Deon finally manages to upload him to a free robot and he goes online, he is like a mixture between a child and a puppy. He is scared of people and does not even know how to speak. So, whatever he is taught, he absorbs it like a sponge. Be it slang, weird ticks, painting, you name it. He does not question any of it in the beginning, and is always eager to learn new things and try what he is told.
Like a child, he will trust his ‘parents’ completely, who happen to be criminals. They want to do a major heist and need Chappie to succeed, so they will manipulate him to that end. However, he is a true sentient being, and will end up realizing what he was a victim of, which will lead to yet more emotional scenes.
That, along with Deon’s rival in the company who manufactures and distributes the robots trying to sabotage him all the way (I never thought I would see Hugh Jackman play the bad guy, that was refreshing and he did it very well) makes for an action packed, extremely fast paced narrative.
So why the only slightly better than average rating then?
Well, for one, I felt the excessive violence became too repetitive and overwhelmed what I personally considered to be more important about this movie. I know that these days, in order for a movie to be successful, it seems to necessarily have to gyrate around big special effects and booms and ra-ta-ta-ta-tas and blood and so on, but I prefer my sci-fi with less action and more intriguing plot.
Some scenes which were filmed too theatrically, which I am sure works great in a trailer but it’s one of the things I dislike the most about american blockbusters.
I like my movies real, if you know what I mean.
And then there were some plot advances which I felt were not properly explained, like the one which led to the incredibly disappointing ending. I mean, it’s one thing for an extremely smart guy to create an AI program which leads to Chappie. That’s believable sci-fi. But for Chappie, who cannot even talk at first and remains completely innocent throughout the whole movie to create a program to download and save a human consciousness to a USB drive? And then be able to upload it? How did he even learn to program? And Deon becoming a robot? Can’t the company completely disable all of them with the master key if they want to?
But other scenes were truly well accomplished. My favourite were the one in the beginning where human and robot cops worked together – there was a true symbiosis there, the scene flowed so well -, the two majorly sad scenes with Chappie and the one where he beats the crap out of the bad guy and then says he forgives him, hah!
I recommend that you watch it. It’s exciting and emotional at the same time.
Just ignore the ending.
PS: Have you watched this movie? The reviews seem to be quite mixed about it.
What did you think?