Blomkamp's third full length film, Chappie (based on his 2004 short film, Tetra Vaal), is probably his most 80's influenced film yet. It's also his third best film (so far). How obvious its comparisons to 80's sci-fi films is, depends on who's watching it. From the get go, I immediately noticed a multitude of parallels to the original Robocop. The ideas, the storyline, the imagery, Hugh Jackman's (Prisoners) villain, were all similar to that film. Now, in our current climate of limited original movie ideas, it's perfectly rational to use pre-established ideas and tweak them a bit. When it's not acceptable, is when it's blatantly in your face. The film's other strong similarity, is of the Chappie character himself. Wonderfully voiced by Sharlto Copley (The A-Team), Chappie is a South African version of Johnny Five from the 1986 film, Short Circuit. Watch that film and its 1988 sequel, and you will see exactly what I'm talking about. But because of Blomkamp's colorful characters (not all, but some) and visual style, I can let this one go. For me, this movie works because even with the story copying, it still has its own distinctive feeling. We've seen an animatronic character become sentient before (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, "I, Robot") but, Chappie adds a little something to the mix.
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R | 2h | Action, Crime, Drama | 6 March 2015 (USA)
In the near future, crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writers: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman