Director Neill Blomkamp did it again. After his amazing work with District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013), Blomkamp gives us his next ambitious project, Chappie.
Chappie is the definition of the unexpected. Going in, a viewer may initially think that “Chappie” is a traditional sci-fi flick with non-stop action. To limit this film would be an understatement. On the contrary, this film delivers humor, emotion, wholesomeness, with pure action and great effects. It definitely delivered on giving the unexpected.
The movie starts off with what many may call, Robocops, but in the film, the elite human-sized droids were called Scouts. The Scouts are in charge of Johannesburg, South Africa. The location comes from the same vein as District 9. Creator of the Scouts, Deon (played by Dev Patel) works at a robotic firm where he is praised by his company’s CEO (Sigourney Weaver).
With every fan, comes a hater. Deon’s hater in the film is his jealous colleague Vincent (Hugh Jackman). Vincent also had an invention, but nothing like Deon’s ‘Scouts’. Vincent’s invention, ‘Moose’ required direct human control and was created for a greater deployment. Towards the end of the film the rivalry between a particular Scout and the heavily-armed Moose was an action packed finale.
The rivalry between Deon and Vincent was somewhat overshadowed throughout the film once the low-life gangsters, Ninja and Yo-Landi (played by the group’s Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser) hit the scene.
In the opening sequence, they bungled a heist and now owe their boss $20 million. To come up with the money, Yo-Landi came up with idea to find the remote that “controls” the Scouts so they can turn them off. As the characters set out a search for the “remote,” it leads to the kidnapping of Deon, who had a deactivated Scout with him, who he refers to as ‘Scout 22.’
Although the Scout was deactivated, he had greater plans for it. He wanted to install his experiment, synthetic consciousness unto the Scout from a data file he created. As for Ninja and Yo-Landi, they wanted to use the discovered robot for a heist to get the money they owe their boss. From there, Deon turns that scout into a thinking, and emotional robot who initially has the mind of a human infant. Yo-Landi instantly falls in love with the robot and calls him Chappie.
From there, Chappie was “born.” Chappie calls Deon, “Maker,” Yo-Landi “Mommy” and Ninja, “Daddy.”
Yo-Landi nurtures Chappie and treats him like a human child. She teaches him English, read him bedtime stories and tells him to pursue his dreams. As for Ninja, he’s taught the complete opposite. Ninja and his accomplice, Amerika (Jose Pablo Cantillo) alters his way of thinking so that Chappie can assist them in a heist.
The scenes of them teaching him how to do wrong was extremely hysterical, because although him hi-jacking cars and stabbing people are both horrible acts, they taught him that doing these things are only him “getting daddy’s car back” and “putting the people to sleep for a nap.” He had no knowledge of his actions. Eventually Chappie questions humans and wondered why humans broke promises and did bad things.
As the story continues, Chappie is faced with the reality of his life coming to an end, due to his dying battery and begins his quest of how to live forever and discovers that consciousness is the answer.
Chappie should not be compared to any of Neill Blomkamp’s previous work. The movie offers its own story line and the viewer will find themselves tapping into various emotions. The movie offers many philosophical meanings and is worth the view.