Set in a near-future Johannesburg the 2015 film Chappie (by creator of District 9, Neil Blomkamp) touches on multiple issues, yet at its base, is an unexpectedly tender coming-of-age story disguised as a dystopian action flick.
Chappie, the eponymous main character, is a damaged law enforcement robot who ends up programmed with a new and highly functional artificial intelligence, and is then kidnapped and raised by drug dealers who want to use him for a heist. Yes, you read that correctly. And, it gets even more chaotic from there. Chappie ends up being jointly educated by the software engineer who designed the AI program (Dev Patel) and his surprisingly multi-dimensional criminal family. Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman also star.
This movie has plot holes, occasional out-of-place gore, and some preposterous characters, and yet, I couldn’t stop watching. Chappie’s growth and relationship with his new family are engaging and the story itself is unpredictable enough that you want to see where it goes next. It’s an ambitious tale with lots to unpack, and although it doesn’t necessarily deliver on all its promises, it manages to be moving, funny, and genuinely entertaining. It’s a film that leaves an impression.