If Hugh Jackman in a mullet and unsightly khaki shorts isn’t enough to convince you to see Chappie, you might need to reconsider your life. Maybe the wannabe gangster robot or the outlandish Ninja and Yolandi Visser will convince you, though. Either way, Chappie is a film with more than just an impressive cast.
In the near dystopian future of South Africa, robotic police officers have taken the place of human officers. Human error becomes obsolete in fatal situations as the robots have appropriate maneuvers programmed in them without emotion or judgment impeding their actions. One robot, Chappie, is blown up and thus rendered useless. Before it’s thrown out, its creator Deon rescues it from the scrap bin and installs an artificial consciousness within it.
Gangsters Ninja, Yolandi, and America, planning a get-rich-quick scheme, carjack Deon with Chappie in the backseat. The trio decides to keep Chappie, whom they hope will be a useful asset in heists. And he is useful, once he learns how to become a hardcore “gangster.”
Chappie is influenced by all the parental figures around him and their different lifestyles. On one hand, Yolandi and Deon are encouraging his growth, treating him like a child. On the other hand, Ninja opts for more of a “tough love” approach, forcing Chappie to choose between being weak and dead or strong and alive.
The South African setting provides a gritty backdrop to this lively story. In the safety of the gang’s home, an abandoned warehouse, Chappie develops a moral conscience, loves the maternal Yolandi deeply, and enjoys rubber chicken toys. He paints. He plays with ninja stars. But outside the comfort of these walls, he witnesses the dark side of humans. There are unjust killings and merciless men in mullets and unsightly khaki shorts. There are inventors like Deon who give life to robots just so they can die, according to Chappie, anyway. Chappie, who is adamant about keeping promises and not killing, appears to be more human than the rest of the characters.
So if you don’t watch Chappie for Jackman, or Ninja and Yolandi, watch it for the robot who loves life.