Country: USA / Mexico
Movie Review: Neill Blomkamp picks out once again his Johannesburg, South Africa, to be the stage of his third feature, “Chappie”, in which he sticks to the habitual sci-fi genre packed with violent action. The film, just like its title character, feels mechanical on most occasions, and the script throws some sentimental bait in an attempt to catch emotional viewers. It’s impossible to completely dissociate “Chappie” from Blomkamp’s two previous flicks - “District 9” (also co-written with Terri Tatchell) and “Elysium”, whose creativity I admire - and even resemblances with “Robocop” are a reality. But the sad truth is that “Chappie” is disappointing, not only when we compare all of them, but also when we analyze it by itself. Its adventure is a mishmash where robots, gangsters, and creators of robots fight one another in quasi-apocalyptic scenarios painted with chaotic gunfights, flashy blasts, and furious blazes. The intense score is incessant and tries to set the mood according to the various discrepant situations, going from sweet and mellow to hyper-aggressive. The script was quite dull, especially on the part that Chappie, the robot conceived to join the South African police forces in the combat of rampant street criminality, starts to learn like a child, not the good things that its creator, Deon, is trying to patiently introduce to him, but rather all the insolences coming from the gangsters who stole him. There are so many ideas on the table, but the problem is to orient them in the proper direction. “Chappie” is not the worst of the sci-fi’s, but it’s basic at its core, and we sadly realize that artificial intelligence becomes superficial intelligence, and the robots seem metallic aberrations whose behaviors are rather phony than genuinely implacable.