Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Chappie — Fun without Dogfood … !

15th July, 2015.

You know, there’s a few things I’ve done in my time.

Some good, some bad … 

Some downright silly … 

Actually, now I think of it, there’s quite a lot of downright silly.

Certainly a lot that I’ll not talk about, here … !

Ahem … !

But one of them … ?

ONE of those things is staying up late: on a night before I have to be at work, early in the morning.

Doing something I’ve not done for a while.


You’ve guessed it.

Watched a movie.

And, in this case … ?

Caught the recently released fort rental, Neil Blomkamp film that IS … Chappie … !

And yes.

It’s isn’t dogwood.


Set in an alternative modern day Johannesburg, the film shows us a who’ve bought in a LOT of scouts: robots with a certain amount of autonomy to act as police.

Or, at least, first-in shock troops for especially heavy raids: similar to the one we see at the start of the film.


Unfortunately for Scout 22 — the ’droid on THIS particular mission — the job goes badly: with the result it’s scheduled for recycling.

Meanwhile, back at the offices of Tetravaal — the company that MAKES the scouts — there’s quite a bit going on.

Star engineer, Deon — Dev Patel — has headed home after a long day at work, and started work on his ‘unofficial project’: coming up with Artificial Intelligence code for Tetravaal’s machines.

Back at the office, Deon’s fellow engineer, Vincent — Hugh Jackson — is having having a bad day.   The MOOSE project that he’s been working on has been put on hold after receiving little interest from the police.

You’d think a situation like that couldn’t be a recipe for disaster, now could you … ?

You’d be wrong.

After asking CEO, Michelle Bradley* — Sigourney Weaver — for support with his AI project, and getting none, Deon decides to take the trashed remains of Scout 22 out of Tetravall’s offices.

So he can install his AI software onto the machine.

On the way home, though … ?

He gets hijacked: by Ninja, Yo-Landi and Amerika, the trio who’d been raided by the police in the opening of the film.

They desperately need money to pay off a gangster who’s threatening them.

And have worked out they could switch off the police robots by kidnapping the man they think has the off switch.


When they get him, the trashed remains of Scout 22 and the AI software back to their base, they persuade Deon to install the latter onto the former: thinking a robot gangster — one that Yo-Landi dubs Chappie, after referring to him as a ‘Happy Chappie’ — could WELL be handy.

You can see the hi-jinks coming, can’t you?


Now … 

I can hear you asking, from here: “Paul, is Chappie any good?”

I’m blowed if I know.

I DO know that, while Chappie may not be on a par with Blomkamp’s first film, District 9, it’s certainly made the effort to be more entertaining than his other: Elysium.

Which I found fun, but very derivative of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

And, while I know some critics have found Chappie not to their taste, I personally thought it was both fun, AND one that twanged my Emotional strings with a lot more certainty than either of his earlier films.

I’ve ALSO got to give Ninja and Yo-Landi — basically playing themselves, and members of South African rap band, Die Antswoord — a certain amount of credit for a good effort.

Along with Sharlto Copley as the eponymous Chappie.   While this may not be his BEST performance — looking back, I actually think his role as Kruger was the one good thing in Elysium — he gave us a good performance, with the need pathos, comedy, and sheer enthusiasm.

All told?

All told, I don’t know if Chappie is good … 

But it IS worth you time.

*        At one point, Sigourney Weaver’s character turns Around to Hugh Jackman’s and say “Burn That Robot to ASH!”   I think someone’s roots are showing … !!

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