This week on “Justin Hall At The Movies,” I’ll be reviewing Hugh Jackman as he goes mano y roboto in “Chappie.”
Movie Review Chappie
Chappie is the latest film from director Neil Blomkamp, the man behind District 9 and the underappreciated Elysium. He once again delves into his forte of sci-fi, but this latest effort is both cheesy and underwhelming. Like any kind of faulty machinery, this one is a bucket of bolts.
It stars Hugh Jackman as a former soldier turned engineer who is developing a massive form of artificial intelligence in crime-ridden Johannesburg, South Africa. Robots are used as a kind of police force. Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire costars as a fellow employee who creates a new kind of software and places it into a damaged robot in the hopes that it will be able to mimic human behavior.
Once the robot comes alive, he’s given the name Chappie and he begins to learn and think all on his own. Just think of the character as a cross between E.T. and Robocop.
It isn’t long before a band of criminals discover Chappie and decide to use him for their own personal gain. This provide some funny moments in which the robot thinks he’s a gangster and he’s provided with a series of makeshift tattoos and plenty of bling bling. The concept of a robot coming to life and having emotions and ideas isn’t exactly original or profound. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick did it to tremendous heights with 2001 and even The Matrix and Terminator films did it with intriguing elements, but this movie runs out of gas.
Instead of supplying any kind of stimulation, it’s doomed to follow a repetitive formula. There are a lot of scenes featuring the robot getting in and out of trouble and even at one point, it’s mistaken for a criminal which is not original either.
The movie starts out well with some interesting ideas, but then loses itself about halfway through and starts to choose conventionality the rest of the way. Chappie is a film that feels more like a technical exercise than a fully-developed and explored extravaganza.
> Grade: C+ >(Rated R for violence, language, and brief nudity.) Until next time, White County, this is Justin Hall saying I’ll see you AT THE MOVIES!