in about 100 words or less
South Africa/United States/Mexico 120m, Colour
Director: Neill Blomkamp; Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Watkin “Ninja” Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman
Chappie is a satirical near-future science fiction drama about a damaged and discarded police robot who is reprogrammed to be self-aware. Abducted along with his creator, the robot begins his child-like existence with a group of South African crooks who teach him how to be a gangster. An emotionally distressing film, Chappie’s betrayal by his “parents” is astonishingly effective, as is the film’s exploration of a number of social and cultural themes, not the least of which is the concept of being an outsider. Both Ninja and Yolandi’s contributions as actors and musicians is substantial, if not mesmerizing. Blomkamp’s ability to balance the film’s action, comedy and drama along with his exploration of artificial intelligence and notions of existence is unsurpassed by other films in this genre. Inexplicably disliked by many critics, Chappie is a severely under appreciated and misunderstood movie that should be considered one of the best of the year (Klaus Ming May 2015).