In Johannesburg, the police department reduced the high rating of criminality using robots from the Tetravaal Company, designed by the engineer Deon Wilson. The former military Vincent Moore is envious of Deon, since he has developed another project called Moose, but neither Tetravaal nor the police department is interested. Deon has just developed an Artificial Intelligence but the Tetravaal’s CEO Michelle Bradley asks him to abort the project. Deon decides to bring the damaged Robot 22 that was sent to be crushed to test his A.I. However he is kidnapped by the criminals Ninja, Yo-Landi and Amerika that want him to stop the robot cops. When they see the damaged robot in the van, they force Deon to program it to heist banks with them and they call it Chappie. However, Chappie acts like a child and need to be trained to learn and grow. Meanwhile Vincent follows Deon and plots an evil scheme to activate his robot.
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
User Reviews: Upon seeing so much hype of Neill Blomkamp’s latest project, Chappie, I had to see what his follow-up from past hits like District 9 and Elysium can do. When I did, the movie itself further left me puzzled, but kept me engaged in the action scenes. The idea of a robot who was originally programmed for serious community work with no sentient purposes seems to follow the trail left behind by past robot-based films like ‘Wall-E,’ ‘I, Robot,’ and notably 80s comedy ‘Short Circuit.’ Blomkamp film regular, Sharlto Copley certainly delivered such an amazing motion-capture performance as the innocent, yet gifted robot Chappie.
Comparing Chappie to Johnny 5 in terms of witty humor is something that has been done before, but the action sequences began to remind me of the intense, anarchic moments shown in Blomkamp’s District 9, which is kind of the recurring themes in his previous projects. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ star Dev Patel plays inventor Deon who reprograms one of the decommissioned robots (along with the assistance of two individuals of South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord) leading to Chappie seeing them as his parental figures as well as him focusing on the concepts of compassion, existentialism, and even nonconformity. It now proves that Chappie can be much more than just an obedient robot, but can actually express himself in ways the average human cannot comprehend.
The villain (played by Hugh Jackman) considers this sentient being a threat and plans to eradicate it in anyway possible, thus bringing Chappie and his human comrades to a full-scale rebellion against the oppressive tyrant and his forces.
I found the film to be enjoyable and sometimes laughable because it reminded me of the themes in not just the humor of ‘Short Circuit,’ but a near-similar scenario shown in ‘I, Robot’ as well in terms of consciousness being tested. The movie does indeed demote Jackman’s hero reputation from past movies as the villain Vincent Moore since the archetypes of his character here feel too cliché. Sigourney Weaver’s role as CEO Michelle Bradley feels unclear on what side does she really condone, but I felt her character development could’ve stretched more than what is shown on screen. Since the movie’s setting takes place once again in the derelict, yet prosperous areas of Johannesburg, South Africa, I can already tell that it comes from the same vein as District 9. Since Blomkamp admitted that he would helm the next ‘Alien’ film, only time will tell of what he really thinks about the critical outcome of Chappie’s success.
To conclude, whether they are misdeeds or not, Chappie is a likable robot who can pull off extraordinary things as any human (albeit even outlandish), maybe something better. The entire movie is nowhere near the equivalent of District 9 story-wise, but as Chappie quotes, "I am consciousness. I am alive." This further emphasizes that he is capable of thinking on his own and upon his understanding, it’s human nature.