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Chappie (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Neill Blomkamp

Starring:
Sharlto Copley/Chappie
Ninja
Yo-Landi
Hugh Jackman/Vincent
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
He is Chappie, a robot with a soul. Hugh Jackman wants to take him out with ED-209’s cousin and Die Antwood play themselves. Do the math!
THE LOWDOWN
After the decent ELYSIUM (2013), Neill Blomkamp goes back to Johannesburg and his lower budget DISTRICT 9 (2008) roots with CHAPPIE, a bold cross between RoboCop, Short Circuit and a Die Antwood music video. Yeah you heard me! So did that eclectic mix make for a tasty sci-fi chow down? Lock and load and lets find out!

CHAPPIE stuck to Neill Blomkamp’s usual M.O. in terms of having a lead character going through some kind of transformation throughout, much like he did with his leads in DISTRICT 9 and ELYSIUM. In this case it’s Chappie the robot, who goes from child, teenager, to gangsta Bot after being fitted with an “emotion” chip (or some shit like that). Granted the character’s evolution felt a tad rushed, but there was no denying the charm and gravitas of the Chappie character. He was definitely the main reason my eyes were glued to the screen. Blomkamp regular/muse Sharlto Copley knocked it out of the park once again here as the titular Bot by way of a mucho endearing voice and motion capture performance. Chappie made me laugh via his motor-mouth tendencies and his ineptitude at being a gangsta and he tugged at my heart strings with his naïve ways of looking at things and his eventual sense of self preservation kicking in. When side characters or chain of events didn’t sit well with me 100%; Chappie made them go down smoother by his sheer presence alone. I loved the little big bugger!

Blomkamp’s gripping visual style and the handful of action scenes on hand hit the spot as well. Although too few and far between for my liking, when the physical get-downs did erupt, they came with, tight camera work, arresting slow motion and much gusto. What about the cast you may ask? I was divided on it but lets focus on the positive for now. It’s always a treat to see Sigourney Weaver do her thing, even when somewhat wasted like she was here (think the Jodie Foster role in Elysium but less prominent). On his end, Hugh Jackman had me in stitches, as the one-dimensional villain. They should have given him a moustache to twirl on top of that awful mullet he was pimping and the character would have been complete. You couldn’t have had more black and black than that guy! Jose Pablo Cantillo was affable/charismatic, Brandon Auret owned it as a threatening thug (who spoke English but was subtitled for some reason) while Dev Patel did aight as the well meaning scientist. Topple on top of that a stirring score by Hans Zimmer (nice to see him do something a bit different than his more recent stuff), stand-out production designs/visual effects and an easy pace and you get a gnarly little film!

So what's holding me back from giving it more love? The casting of rap duo Die Antwood for starters. I’m actually a fan of their music and I’ve seen them in concert (they killed it), but coming into this film, I expected Ninja and Yo-Landi to have cameos or supporting roles. So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that they were the freaking leads. Ummm… that didn’t work for me. Sure, they both had their moments (Yo-Landi nailed some of her more emotional scenes) but they weren’t strong enough actors as a whole and by result I didn’t care about their characters much. Moreover, I overdosed on everything Die Antwood while watching this flick. We had them, their music playing left and right, their tags all over the place etc. They should have named the film ZEF instead of CHAPPIE. In short Die Antwood had way too much presence here and that took away from the story at hand. I can just imagine how more effective the film would have been if they had cast two REAL actors in those roles. I also had trouble with the sceenplay now and again i.e. trivial elements to serve the plot (like the lack of security at the robot compound) and ideas I didn’t buy (uploading of consciousness). Finally what a waste of an R Rating! There was a dude ripped in half here and it went down so fast, I hardly saw it. If you’re gonna have an R Rating, don't hold back on the wam-bam-splat man!

So there you have it! So on the whole, I enjoyed Chappie mostly due to the titanium lead character's antics, the action bits and Jackman’s evillll character. Question is... are you Chappie?

GORE
There was a don't blink person ripped in half gore scene and some bullet wounds. A waste of an R Rating...
T & A
Other than Yo-Landi's short shorts... nathing.
BOTTOM LINE
CHAPPIE was a good time at the movies! The film rolled out at an even pace, Chappie made for a compelling hero to follow around, the action scenes/production designs/visual effects on display were tops and it’s hard not to be entertained with an angry, jacked up Hugh Jackman with an oddball mullet. Bummer that there was way too much Die Antwood in here! I would have given them secondary roles (to match their limited acting range) and would have included only one of their songs at best. The Die Antwood overload was overkill for this jerk. Lastly, the script needed a bit more work IMO. Mr. Blomkamp as yet to live to DISTRICT 9, but I still believe in the dude and I dig his style! Hopefully ALIEN 5 will be THE ONE! Keep making em bro! I'll keep watching!
BULL'S EYE
Word on the street is that Ninja acted like a sexist, prima-donna jerk on set, ruining his relationship with Blomkamp in the process. Can't say that I'm surprised.

Ninja has a District 9 tattoo on his inner lip.

Just like with District 9, Blomkamp co-wrote the film with his wife Terri Tatchell.

Was it me or did some of the robots sound like RoboCop when hey spoke?
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7:11PM on 03/06/2015

Flick was a blast

Just got back from seeing this and I agree with pretty much everything you had to say. I could've done with less Die Antwood but they didn't bug me too much as I was mostly unfamiliar with they're ways. Yolandi seemed sweet though, a nice motherly presence.

Good call on Hugh having a stache, it would have been the most best amazing awesome ever.

Neil Blomkamp's film are pretty bad ass, so far so good.
Just got back from seeing this and I agree with pretty much everything you had to say. I could've done with less Die Antwood but they didn't bug me too much as I was mostly unfamiliar with they're ways. Yolandi seemed sweet though, a nice motherly presence.

Good call on Hugh having a stache, it would have been the most best amazing awesome ever.

Neil Blomkamp's film are pretty bad ass, so far so good.
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