In the near future South Africa has robot police officers. The engineer behind them takes their development further when he manages to install full artificial intelligence into a damaged droid meant for destruction.
This has already been described as Robocop meets Short Circuit and I have to agree. We have the robot cops running around arresting and shooting the bad guys, complete with Peter Weller-esque voices and then we get Chappie, who enters the fray as a child in a robotic body.
Chappie is “born” surrounded by criminals determined to use him for their own ends but his maker Deon (Dev Patel) manages to give him a sense of right and wrong from the outset.
District 9 director Neil Blomkamp has again called upon the services of the star of that film Sharlto Copley, who does a fine Andy Serkis (Gollum, King Kong, Ceasar from the Apes movies) job as Chappie. Copley’s performance gives the robot a much needed human quality that the idea of artificial intelligence alone could not.
Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver also add their considerable presence as a rival engineer and head of the electronics corporation respectively. Jackman is excellent as the sneaky, sneering Vincent who has always been upset that his own design was not used for law enforcement.
Funny, exciting and sad, Chappie delivers everything you would expect but does stretch the imagination a little too far with its ideas about human consciousness towards the end.
Catch it in cinemas now.
Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.