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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

CHAPPIE

Movie review by David Blackwell

 

120 minutes, Rated R

STUDIO: Sony Pictures/ Columbia Pictures/ MRC (Media Rights Capital)/ Alpha Core/ Genre Pictures/ Simon Kinberg Productions

Theatrical RELEASE DATE; 3-6-2015

 

STARRING Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser

DIRECTED by Neill Blomkamp

Deon (Dev Patel) is a robot designer for a major weapons company called Tetravaal in South Africa who provides police robots to the South African Police.  He wants to test a consciousness program on a soon to be discarded robot unit when he is kidnapped by a desperate couple (played by Ninja and Yo-Landi of music group Die Antwoord who play fictional versions of themselves) that wants Deon to find a way to shut the police robots so they can rob a money truck.  Instead they get a robot named Chappie with a childlike mind that learns at a fast rate and Ninja wants to train Chappie to be the best gangbanger with bling.   Deon has a rival at work- Vincent (Hugh Jackman)- who is developing his own rival police droid (which is controlled by a human mind via telepresence). 

 

CHAPPIE is director Neill Blomkamp’s second spiritual homage to ROBOCOP mixed in with SHORT CIRCUIT and using the short film of his own called Tetra Vaal as part of the basis for the movie.  It explores the themes of life, consciousness, and people who strive to escape their circumstances to get to their dreams.   You have some mockumentary coverage at the beginning and end of the movie with the middle being in a South African version of ROBOCOP with a police force that is a mix of robots and humans.  Then the movie does take a left turn on how to transfer consciousness since Chappie has a fused battery which can’t be removed and he will die once the battery runs down.  

 

CHAPPIE has the usual great visual look of a Neill Blomkamp movie and it is the third movie to feature characters fighting to survive in the slums.  It is like the director is trying to create the same movie with variations on the theme and different characters each time.     I have enjoyed each of Neil Blomkamp’s three movies and yet he needs to get out of creating the same type of movie and get away from playing homage to the same stuff over and over.   I didn’t find Chappie to be annoying.   I just found the plotline to be a little dumb in places and yet I still enjoyed the movie despite any narrative shortcomings and Hugh Jackman being on autopilot with his acting. I can’t wait for him to get ALIEN 5 made because it means we won’t see characters in the South African or a future American slum.   However, I do think he is a great visual director and his films are great at least watch on a visual level no matter how the writing turns out.

 

This review is 3-9-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com