This film had its moments but for the most part felt misguided with too much of the screen-time going to the lesser interesting characters in the cast.
In the future the police is built of skilled droids, when a programmer steals one that is set for destruction he attempts to install a new program he created which would allow the droid to think and feel its own emotions, and to grow mentally like a real human.
I must have missed the intended message of this film, or the point of it all together. I was expecting a thought-provoking science-fiction story built off the premise of artificial intelligence. While there was a great focus on robot engineering the plot still resulted in a rather boring film with only moderately ambitious action-sequences and a story-line that seemed to have its focus on the wrong angle of the script.
With two skilled actors like Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel on board for a film, I cannot fathom why so much of the bulk of the film was given to Jose Pablo Cantillo, Yolandi Visser and Watkin Tudor Jones also known as ‘Nijna’, who with Visser make up the South African music group Die Antwood… are you kidding me? Now don’t get me wrong I am not going to condemn any of them for their performances, I have seen Cantillo in a handful of projects and he is usually very capable in his roles. As for Jones and Visser, who also did a decent job I guess and sold the parts, their characters were terribly written to be considered leads in a blockbuster film that has the likes of Patel and Jackman in them.
This addition of this small group of criminals that fill out the bulk of the run-time also for the most part turned the main character, Chappie into a rather unlikable character. I get the point, you feel sorry for him as for the most part he feels like an abused puppy which naturally tugs at the heart strings, but other then that he is stealing cars and spouting dumb dialogue trying to land a chuckle like a little kid cursing. Something that lost its hilarity rather quickly.
I get the point of where they wanted the character of Chappie to go but he just spent too much time with the flat criminals who other than Cantillo were very annoying, which just shows just because you fit the role you are cast for does not mean the role will work. If there would have been a much shorter time spent on the criminals and more time focused on the dynamic between Patel’s character and Chappie it would have been much more enjoyable.
The action-sequences were well shot and looked good but did not show any real creativity to make them feel different from the action in many other similar films. There was also a lack of this film having its own identity, there were many things that looked clearly borrowed from other, better science-fiction films. For the most part I sat back and watched this film wanting to eventually pick-up and build some intrigue but it never did.
I wanted this film to be an adventure and in the end “Chappie” felt like it went in the wrong direction from the beginning and wasted two talented actors, as well as a large budget. Not to forget a completely wasted Sigourney Weaver who delivered nothing of impact the the story. This film is still worth a shot if you love the genre but even then you will be more reminded for better films this one copied from, rather than anything of note to remember about “Chappie”.