3/4

Chappie [2015] ★★★

 Chappie_posterFrom the poster and trailer you might think is another “Transformers” movie (God forbid), when in fact, “Chappie” is a Sci-Fi movie from Neill Blomkamp, the man who gave us the superior “District 9” and “Elysium”. Despite a lack of stars or a recognizable filmmaker, “District 9” put many big budget Hollywood blockbusters to shame and established Blomkamp as a writer-director of talent and substance. His new film is nowhere near as good as his first feature; it’s formulaic and unashamedly manipulative, but it’s played with sincerity…and it works. The time is the near future and crime is being handled by an oppressive mechanized police force created by a young programmer called Deon (Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire”). When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen by a gang of thieves and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself (how cool is that?). I will not reveal more. But I will say that under Blomkamp’s direction, the story never misses a beat, with fully-committed performances by Patel, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley (as Chappie), and Hugh Jackman as a man with his own personal agenda. But if this movie succeeds, it’s mainly because of the human element. And if you’re a sucker for Blomkamp’s style and techniques, I have a feeling that you’ll willingly surrender to “Chappie”. It’s not the most original Sci-Fi movie that you’ll ever see, but it is fun to watch, and that’s a particular compliment at this point in the movie season. Next up, Blomkamp will take over the Alien franchise with a movie set for a 2017 release. I, for one, cannot wait.

Rating: 3/4

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