Did the trailer for Chappie look appealing? Nope.
Did we go ahead and see it anyways? Yup.
PLOT - In the not-too-distant future, the violence in Johannesburg has escalated and a robotic police force is replacing human officers. This is working fairly well to combat the crime rates, until a series of events propelled by human egos, upsets the delicate balance between humans and machines.
Deon (Dev Patel) is the head engineer working on the current droids used in the police force. He has two problems. The first, is his after-work experimentations that have let him to discover a way to make droids sentient. When he tells his boss, Michelle ( Sigourney Weaver) about his discovery, she shoots down his idea. He cannot drop it and he sneaks a damaged droid out of the office compound, so that he can experiment at home. His second problem, is his coworker, Vincent ( Hugh Jackman). Vincent is jealous of Deon's success and wants his own creation to replace the police droids that Deon has created. Vincent will stop at nothing to see Deon destroyed.
Deon's problems escalate, when he is kidnapped by a band of criminals who are hoping to use the engineer to help them disable the robotic police force. What they don't bargain for, is becoming part of Deon's experiment, when Deon reprograms the stolen droid and Chappie (voiced by Sharlto Copley) comes to life. Deon must protect the child-like Chappie from the criminals and stop the criminals from carrying out their plans.
LIKE - There was very little that I liked about this film, except for it made me laugh. It's destined to be a cult classic and it falls into the "It's so bad, that it's almost good" category. From a production value stand-point, the film and effects look good. In particular, the droids are very well done and believable.
DISLIKE - Where to start? This movie is a mess. The story isn't terrible per se, but the dialogue and characters are so ridiculous that they wreck anything that might have been good. The best-worst part are the gang of criminals, especially Ninja and Yolandi (the names of the characters and the real-life rappers who play them), who look like extras in Biff Tannen's crew from Back to the Future: Part Two.
One of my favorite parts was towards the end of the film, when Yolandi is suddenly wearing a professionally made shirt that says "Chappie." They live in an abandoned factory and they are consumed with making a large sum of money in a few days or face being killed, yet she has managed to get this shirt made. Like most of the movie, this is nonsense. At least there is a moment when the ridiculousness of the name "Chappie" is addressed. It's a truly terrible name.
I must mention that this is the only Sharlto Copley film, where his accent hasn't driven me nuts. I thought it was strange that they only decided to subtitle one of the villains, when they were all equally tough to understand.
The film takes itself seriously until the last quarter, where there is an all-out bloodbath that is led by Vincent, who is finally able to get his revenge. At this point in the film, they have lost control of the droid police force and Vincent has been given permission to use his creation to fix the problem. This is a big deal, yet no bosses are giving any oversight to Vincent. He is alone and allowed to go on a rampage. This makes zero sense.
RECOMMEND - No, no, no. Not even as a rental. Well, maybe as a rental, if you have plenty of liquor. This is clearly a summer-release type of film and the reason that it didn't get released in the summer, is because it's terrible.