Chappie is a ‘Scout’ – a new breed of cyborg crime fighter that has been employed by the government in Johannesburg to patrol and violently enforce law-keeping.
This new robot police force is provided by the slightly sinister tech corporation TetraVaal – run by no nonsense CEO Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver).
As well as the humanoid ‘Scouts’, TetraVaal has a more bulky heavy-duty weapons platform MOOSE (that looks uncannily like the ED209 from Robocop) created by deviant ex-army man Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman).
The robo police force have crime on the run but things take an ominous turn when one police Scout is given new programming by his designer Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), which makes him the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.
When this Scout is stolen he is taught to be a small-time criminal by his adopted ‘parents’, Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yolandi (Yo-Landi Visser).
‘Chappie’, as he comes to call himself, becomes a perceived danger to society.
This engaging future ‘what if’ film is a fun mash- up of movies like Robocop and Short Circuit – enthused with the trademark violence of District 9 director Neil Blomkamp.
Chappie certainly looks the part.
The special effects are superb and Chappie is an incredible feat of CGI, a robot that can express real emotion as well as kick serious ass.
The main human characters actually suffer in comparison to Chappie, who steals every scene he’s in.
That is high praise for a motion-captured robot character (one who give the excellent Gollum from Lord Of The Rings a run for his money).
Chappie packs lots of laugh-out-loud moments along with some crunching violent action.
This eclectic mix has flummoxed many reviewers with scores ranging from very low to high.
Viewer feedback however seems to be positive. I was certainly impressed and I’m already looking forward to seeing Chappie again.