An engaging and hilarious film, Chappie - much like Spring Breakers - suffers from a marketing strategy pitching it untruthfully, when in reality, it's one of the funniest films in a long time. And so, like the character itself, Chappie is destined to be misunderstood. Particularly, by the people who expects that IMDb genre assignations are final. A thriller? To no extent.
It's a gritty, thoughtful, sci-fi comedy. Something film companies would never expect you to buy.

Perhaps because people have become too accustomed to "fun films" being stupid, superficial, suburban and starring Seth Rogen. Or, when trying to escalate scale, are only successful in scapegoating for a major hacking scandal. So, when Die Antwoord babysits a sentient gangsta robot and Wolverine is a megalomaniac with a mullet, it's naturally a thriller…

Watch it as such, and if you - for unfathomable reasons - don't get the joke, you will be disappointed. Watch it with an open mind and you're in for a real treat.

Bloomkamp again delivers stunning visuals where the technology is downright dirty and actually seems to be used and purposeful, rather than impractical and ornamental. Though the plot is mainly derived from classic B-films and general science fiction lore it still manages to present an interesting take on artificial intelligence. It does so brilliantly, without detailing the hows and whys, by simply posing it as a matter-of-fact ("Consciousness downloading…") - which brings back memories of film hackers accessing anything, like Sony, simply by trying enough different passwords. The score, a mix of Hans Zimmer and Die Antwoord, is equally great and the performances of the latter are surprisingly appropriate.

9/10 - Rarely, has a cinema experience been as thoroughly engaging, immersive and laugh-out-loud funny.

6 years ago


Don't take this film TOO seriously– its a gangster robot. And I enjoyed every single minute. Die Antwoords soundtrack, along with Hanz Zimmer was really fitting and exciting. Yo-Landi and Ninja play themselves, if you've seen them live or in their videos, that is exactly what you get in this film.
I had fun with this one and lots of laughs.

5 years ago


Neil Blomkamp's Chappie doesn't really deserve the contempt it's attracted, but it's not a great film either, mostly because it doesn't know what tone it should strive for. Part Robocop, part Short Circuit, I'm fairly sure this robot with a soul movie was meant as a tribute to 80s sci-fi films. It's got "futuristic punks" right out of Max Max, Max Headroom and The Dark Knight Returns, slow motion action shots, etc. But it also wants to be a thoughtful meditation on sentience, an allegory about growing up, and an examination of nature vs. nurture. While I appreciate this brand of SF, Blomkamp is always very overt about his metaphors and brings no subtlety at all. Regardless, the film is at odds with itself because it tries to be too many things at once - action film, sf fable, social commentary, goofy robot comedy (this is what it is, mostly) - and it betrays its own narrative with its attempt at a feel good ending. And while I like Hugh Jackman as a villain, he's written as a cartoon, just like the gangbanger punks (who, I understand, are playing themselves, something that doesn't feel cute outside South Africa). When your villains are thoughtless and stupid, it doesn't make your heroes shine too brightly. I would have been more interested in a tragic movie about artificial intelligence - Chappie IS a sympathetic character, well realized in terms of voice and effects - and kept growing bored with its screechy action beats.

3 years ago

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