Starring: Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Running Time: 120 mins
Chappie is an American film about a near future where the entire Johannesburg police force is composed of robots, however their creator succeeds in creating one robot that can think for itself, Chappie.
This is the third film from director Neill Blomkamp, and the third of his films that has a really good premise, but falls flat on its face. This film has a promising start, and flashes of fun throughout that made it a little bit different, but it was on the whole a very weak story that was littered with boring action and some insanely preposterous ideas.
Now, although it’s slow-starting, once this film gets into the whole idea of an artificially intelligent robot learning and growing like a child, it’s a quite fun to watch. It’s not particularly interesting or profound like some of the messages in District 9 were, but the concept is initially believable enough to go along with and enjoy.
What prevented this from being an overall boring film, however, was the fact that it was pretty funny for a good twenty minutes. Eventually, once you’ve got a hang of the AI thing, that aspect gets a little boring, but it’s replaced by a hilarious sequence where Chappie learns how to be a gangster, and this period was by far the highlight of the film, because it took on a refreshingly light tone in comparison to what you’d expect, but also tried something a little bit different that wasn’t the ultimately boring action story.
That’s where this film really fell down, in the final act. In almost identical fashion to District 9 and almost as badly as Elysium, the story drops all of its cool initial concepts in return for an overly drawn out final hour full of explosions and gunfights that don’t add much to the story, and are not actually that exciting because you haven’t really got to empathise with the characters throughout the whole film.
Also, there were some major exaggerations in terms of the characters here that really annoyed me. Chappie was great, but the rest of the people in this film were just not really that believable, particularly Hugh Jackman’s character, whose excessively strong vendetta towards Dev Patel was just not at all convincing, and made for a ridiculously evil villain that didn’t worry me one bit.
The worst thing about this film, however, was the finale. It dies down a bit after the action, but then there comes one of the most preposterous and pointless endings to a film I’ve ever seen, where I was much more entertained by the seconds ticking on my watch than the gibberish on screen.
Finally, back on the bright side, the visual effects in this film are absolutely stunning. It really builds on the sort of feel that you got from the prawns in District 9, but creates a very slick image of this artificially intelligent robot, and was a major component in making that part of the story more believable.
Overall, this gets a 6.5, because it had a story that was at times fun and entertaining to watch, along with great visuals, although its final hour was pretty dull and stupid.