As we all know, Hollywood is fresh out of original ideas, which is why most films are either remakes or rehashed versions of what we've already seen. CHAPPiE
is no different. From RoboCop
to Short Circuit
to Artificial Intelligence
, movies about human-like robots are plentiful. And director Neill Blomkamp
, who is known for his dystopian stories of the future, adds nothing new to the narrative — except a killer mullet from Hugh Jackman
Written by Blomkamp and his wife Terri Tatchell
, the movie sparingly tackles interesting perspectives on a militarized police force and what truly makes someone "human," but the film ultimately crumbles in its unoriginality and predictability. Set in South Africa (thankfully, he left out the ludicrous "Nigerians" in the overrated District 9
), a team of robots called the Scouts control the crime-ridden city. The idea: robots can do a job better than humans. Deon Wilson, played by Dev Patel,
creates the robots but when he is kidnapped by criminals Yolanda and Ninja (members of the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord
who are strangely playing themselves but not playing themselves), they find his experiment CHAPPiE (animated Avatar
-style with Sharlto Copley
), a robot who can think and feel like a human. Within a handful of scenes, Chap transforms from a baby to a thug, at which point the film quickly unravels.
Hugh Jackman is a robot maker and Sigourney Weaver
is the corporate diva of the organization that creates and profits from the Scouts. Yes, the cast is enjoyable, but nothing can save the film’s trite and obvious point: robots ruling the world would suck. The movie ends with an explosive, solid sci-fi-action sequence, but an explosive final ten minutes doesn't redeem a humdrum one hour and 45 minutes. Although timely, considering the discussion of police in America, CHAPPiE
is, for lack of a better word, robotic.
is in theaters now.