Neill Blomkamp ("District 9")is a director I watch. The previews for this one look enormously appealing, so I walked in to this R-rated Sci-Fi thriller with high expectations. Sure enough, I was treated to an exciting, action-filled Sci-Fi movie that runs just a bit too long (120 minutes) but still manages to have some very sweet spots.
Our ultra-violent future is patrolled by a mechanized police force. One of these droids is damaged and then reprogrammed to have human emotions and thought processes; the development company rejects the new design and the droid is sent to the crusher. His maker can't bear to see all of his work destroyed, so he steals it. Now we have the basis for a terrific movie!
- Charlto Copley ("Malelificent") voicesChappie, the smart but naive robot who has to learn everything from scratch, like a strong but timid human baby. He is soon bullied by street thugs and learns how unfair life can be.
- Dev Patel ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel")Deonis the brilliant engineer who programmed this new model. He admits toChappiethat his programming will "expire" in three years.
- Yo-Landi Visser isYolandi, the young womanChappiecomes to call "Mommie." She tells her fellow thugs that a robot is like a television: all they have to do is steal the remote and they can control it.
- * Ninjaneeds the fighting power of a robot to help him repay a debt, so he turnsChappieinto a Gangster, this includes all the bling and attitude that goes with it. The screening audience loved it whenChappiehid hisBarbiedoll fromNinja.
- Jose Pablo Cantillo ("Elysium")Yankieis as intrigued asYolandiwith the development of a sentient robot. He too, becomes fond ofChappie.
- Hugh Jackman ("Prisoners")Vincentis a frustrated engineer who has created a gigantic robot they call "Moose." His funding has been cut and his project is due to be canceled; this does NOT make him happy!
- Sigourney Weaver ("Red Lights")Michelle Bradley's phenomenally successful company makes robots that self-destruct in three years. Thus there will always be a market for replacements.
Of course we are subjected to endless battle scenes with guns and blowie uppie stuff, but to me, the person-to-robot scenes are so engaging, they made up for it.
Again I want to comment on the internationality of film. Blomkamp and Copley are from South Africa, Jackman from Australia, Weaver is American, while surprisingly, Patel was born in England. Keeping this in mind, I know these are all English-speaking countries, but I could have used subtitles.