Chappie (Blu-Ray) : Release Year - 2015

Overall Rating : 7.5/10

Directed By : Neill Blomkamp

Sharlto Copley (District 9)
Dev Patel The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine)
Sigourney Weaver (The Cabin in the Woods)

Supplied By : Sony Pictures

Film Reviewed By : Rick L. Blalock

Date Reviewed : May. 28, 2015


In the near future, crime is monitored by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. 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. As powerful and destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
CHAPPIE takes place in a futuristic Johannesburg South Africa that sees nearly 300 murders a day - some of which are Police. As a solution, the government has employed a robotics company known as Tetravaal to develop a robotic Police force to work the streets alongside human counterparts. The first form of robotic enforcement known as "Moose" was developed by ex-military General Vincent Moore. But when the human controlled robots are deemed to be too limited, the higher ups put an end to Moore's project. In its place? A new project involving more human-like robots known as "scouts", which were designed by up and coming developer named Deon Wilson. For Tetravaal the "Scout" project is seen as a success. So when Deon approaches his boss, Michele Bradley about implementing a new breakthrough which he has discovered, which would render the robots to have even more human-like qualities, he quickly denied. However this doesn't stop the determined developer because soon, he attempts to take home with him, "Scout 22", a police robot that was recently damaged in a gang shootout, and has since been deemed unsalvageable by Tetravaal. However, before Deon can get it home and get to work, he is abducted by a trio of gangsters(who ironically were involved in the shootout). Initially, they are seeking for a way to "turn off' the robotic Police units, but when they notice the wrecked robot in the back of Deon's van, their focus shifts to something more drastic. When they learn that Deon's newest discovery could possibly make the robot act and feel more like a human, more sinister plans emerge. With Deon's new data uploaded to the robot. the robot can be taught to do and say things. Initially the robot, eventually named "Chappie" is mild-mannered and timid. But it doesn't take long for both Ninja and Yo-Landi, two of the gangsters to influence him greatly, once Deon is away. They begin to tutor him on their gangster ways - both in their lingo and their actions. Soon they send Chappie out to do the group's dirty work out in the streets and later have plans to use the robot in a planned multi-million dollar heist. Initially the free thinking robot refuses to commit the crime, however, with his battery running low. they convince Chappie that the money that would be obtained during the heist is essential to his survival. Unfortunately however, the crime not only catches the attention of the news, but also the attention of those at Tetravaal most importantly, Moore, who has an axe to grind with Deon. After Moore discovers what it is exactly that Deon has done with the damaged robotic, Scout 22, he sets out to get revenge. He first acts out by attempting to take Chappie, but when those plans fail, he resorts to something far more dangerous. When Moore successfully shuts down the entire robotic Police force, it makes way for a tidal wave of crime and riots in the Johannesburg streets, giving him the ideal aversion, so that he may unleash his deadly Moose creation, setting the stage for a heavy showdown between the metallic beast and Chappie.

Going into the film, I knew of this film's reputation. From what I have read online, it seems that CHAPPIE has sort of "love it or hate it" relationship with its viewers. There are those who either enjoy this film or they don't. And also it appears that the same could be said about Neil Blomkamp's films in general. Best known for DISTRICT 9, a film, which from what I can tell has a bit of a small cult following, it was followed by a film that seems to have been not as well received as its predecessor, was ELYSIUM, starring Matt Damon. Here, he follows up the 2013 film, with CHAPPIE. And while CHAPPIE may be Blomkamp's third high profile film, it is actually the first film of the Writer/Director's films that I have personally seen. It is my first experience with Neil Blomkamp, and I must admit that I enjoyed this film a great deal. I just don't understand the hate that this film has received.

CHAPPIE is film that is basically what you could call a cross between ROBOCOP and SHORT CIRCUIT(especially its sequel). The film centers around a police robot that was once programmed to do as its human counterparts pleased. But when the robot is updated with new updated software, the unit progresses to full artificial intelligence and is eventually able to think and do on its own while having feelings of its own, as well. Personally I thought the premise alone was fun, not to mention the setting that was created for the film which is basically an exaggerated version of the real Johannesburg. Which becomes the backdrop for the film's action scenes, to nice effect. However it is the overall story that I enjoyed most about CHAPPIE. Within this war-torn world, Blomkamp is able to create both characters and events that keep a viewer interested(at least in my case). Actor Sharto Copley, whom has worked with the Director several times, here assumes the titular character via gray suit. On set, His actions were captured while wearing the suit, and was later composted over digitally in post. Copley does a great job of bringing CHAPPIE alive. He is able to evoke emotions that are at times, heartfelt and funny. Although Chappie is of course a "digitized" character, he comes across on screen so well, that as the film moves along the viewer really connects. with him, which is a credit to the film's great digital effects.

As I said, I really enjoyed CHAPPIE and do not understand the negative criticism towards the film. From the comments that I have read, it seems to me that most of the negativity comes from those who take a film like this one, far too seriously. The film takes place in a futuristic fantasy world, and should be treated as such. No one ever said that CHAPPIE was a literal film. It's Sci-Fi fantasy. So yes, there may be a few things found within, where imagination stretches the truth without being too ridiculous. However, with this in mind, I will say that there was at least one element in the film that I thought was just a little too far fetched. And I am talking about the downloading of a humans conscious into a hard drive, to later upload it into the body of a robot, so that they can "live forever" as the film states. It is essentially the reverse of what was done with Chappie, and to me it's just silly. They should have just halted the idea at Chappie while they were ahead. The idea of humans coming back as robotic beings is just cheesy, and makes for a rather odd ending. This and maybe the fact that Chappie might learn just a little too quickly (as the film moves along at a brisk pace) in the film are my only real complaints. Yes I didn't even mind the whole "robot wearing the neural helmet" thing that people have complained about, or better yet, the presence of South African Rap duo Die Antwoord(Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser), who it seems have gotten on the nerves of many of the film's viewers. Honestly, before going into the film, I myself assumed that they would do the film in for me as well. I have no idea why they were cast, but still they didn't bother me much. They're just a little strange.
3/10 A few instances of blood splatter, along with various wounds. There is also a scene in which a body is ripped apart. There isn't a lot of gore effects in the film. But the effects that we do see are effectively executed.
5.5/10 The score features a fast paced action orchestration, that is paired with a few Die Antwoord tracks, which surprisingly work well.
Going into CHAPPIE, I noted the mixed reaction that the film has received, and to be honest, I didn't know where i'd stand once my viewing was over. But i've got to be honest - I personally enjoyed this film. It's emotional and fun, and overall, just a good time. Just as long as you don't take it too seriously. I recommend this one. You either like it or not. Which side are you on?

Special Features include :

- Alternate Ending
– Extended Scene
* "Chappie: The Streetwise Professor”
* “Arms Race: The Weapons and Robots”
* “Bringing Chappie to Life: The Visual Effects”
* “From Tetra Vaal to Chappie:”
* “Keep It Gangster”
* “The Reality of Robotics”
* "Jozi: Real City and a Sci-Fi Setting”
* “Rogue Robot: Deconstructing the Stunts & Special Effects”

- “The Art of Chappie” Photo Gallery
– We Are Tetravaal” featurette

This film will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD, on June 16, 2015


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