There were moments when Chappie (2015) felt a little bit like Short Circuit (1986) to me.
Dev Patel plays the central human character, Deon Wilson. He is the engineer who has been working on an AI program that will enable the police robots to think in human-like fashion. I think most people will recognize Dev Patel as “that guy from Slumdog Millionaire“, but I haven’t seen that yet. I think of him as “the manager from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“.
Hugh Jackman plays Vincent Moore, who is an engineer working on a large police robot designed to eliminate military-grade targets. He loses major portions of his funding, so you can tell he’s not a happy camper. He’s a bit of a worm in this film. There’s one scene where he gets his ass thrashed, and that’s funny to see, given his roles in other movies.
The setting for this film is in Johannesburg (South Africa) in the not-too-distant future. In reading about the cast, it was interesting to see that some of the main characters (“Ninja” and “Yolandi”) are not professional actors, but are musicians in a South African group called Die Antwoord. These two, along with their friend “Amerika”, comprise that gang that is holding Chappie…a bulk of the film is how they’re teaching Chappie how to be one of them. While Deon and Yolandi try to teach Chappie about stories and painting, Ninja and Amerika try to teach Chappie about how to shoot, and “how to be cool”.
There’s plenty of action in this film, as well as a little bit to make you think about things. To me, the big picture is about this: if the great hope is about creating “life” with AI, then the big disappointment is crushing it up against the shit of humanity. Chappie is immediately thrust into that situation. I won’t spoil the ending, but it was a little bit predictable as to how things would turn out near the end there. In my mind, there are still some unresolved questions about how they’re going to manage going forward.
|Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel
Runtime: 120 min
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
|Plot: In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.|