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Cine-Men: ‘Chappie’ is a robotic disappointment

In today’s media we like to talk a lot about how robots are taking our jobs. Most bring up the point that we can’t truly be replaced. After all, robots can’t even think. Well, “Chappie” begs to differ.

In “Chappie” we go back to Johannesburg, South Africa where crime is rampant and the only way to control it for the safety of whatever remains of the police is with the assistance of robots. Enter Chappie, an experimental learning artificial intelligence that gets stolen in its infantile stage and is essentially raised by gangsters.

This film managed to earn $31.6 million in North America. Its opening day earned a mere $4.6 million, only being able to surpass its $49 million budget with its world-wide release. It grossed a total of $102.1 million.

My Take:

This movie is a tough call. I didn’t really hate Chappie, but I didn’t exactly love it either. If I had to describe this movie with only two words they would be “mixed bag.”

There are some fun, even hilarious, scenes in this movie. But in equal proportion there are scenes, and even major plot points, that don’t make any sense at all. And what hurts the most is that this was made by the dame director that did “District 9!”

Yes, “District 9” is the same film I did nothing but praise in last week’s article! And it stars the same main actor Sharlto Copley! There are some glaring flaws in this movie that I think can be pinned down to a couple points.

To begin, most of the main characters are overly simple. They are trope-filled, and any character development feels rushed and nonsensical. See, most of the side characters are played by famous South African musicians, and their involvement feels awkward and forced. For example, the character Yolandi (played by Yolandi Visser) is supposed to play this super-smart logistician bank robber, akin to “Ocean’s 11.” And yes, they didn’t even bother to give the character a different name.

But she dresses and acts like, well, herself. She has no costumes, just her standard attire, which makes her look like she deals ecstasy, not helps plan multi-million-dollar heists. Further, what they did with Copley is a tragedy. He had such nuanced, beautiful character acting in “District 9,” but in “Chappie” they dub him over in the CG robot body. And we miss so much because of it!

My second point is about the plot. It barely makes any sense; it could be called cartoonish, even. The main antagonist’s plot makes no sense. He wants to replace the standard, humanoid robots that Chappie is a part of with a weapons platform straight out of the Metal Gear games.

He only goes to the police for this instead of, oh, I don’t know, the military! He creates a device that is state-of-the-art and genius, but he maintains his stubbornness for the sake of the plot. And that is the very definition of a contrivance which I cannot forgive. 5/10. A large letdown of pedigree.

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