Presented by / 3/10/2015 / No comments / , , , ,

DEV PATEL AND HUGH JACKMAN IN CHAPPIE

2015 rating: **1/2
A busy weekend for energetic actor Dev Patel… He trumps the elderly with far more screen time in the limp BEST EXOTIC HOTEL sequel, and kind of stars in CHAPPIE, a future-Earth Science-fiction tale about... does ROBOCOP ring a bell? That story involved a human police officer turned into a law enforcing robot, who eventually discovers he’s still a person deep down… Here the cops are already 'bots and one in particular, still in developmental stages and bearing the film’s corny title, is more skittish than an abused child. 

The scientist/creator, Deon Wilson, played by Patel, works for an uptight boss who wants to cut costs – yet the biggest obstacle is a bullying alpha male, Vincent... Hugh Jackman in an “anyone could have played this part” role... who is, like one ROBOCOP corporate goon, in charge of a monstrous banned mechanism so similar to the ED-209, CHAPPIE could have easily been a second (and better) RC remake. Hell, it's even bookended with pseudo documentary newsreels providing glimpses into a dystopian society (but in South Africa).

Poster Artwork
Most of the film takes place in literal ruins where a small band of renegades... including a 1990's Cyberpunk and two bizarre gang-bangers... teach Chappie the ropes when his master’s not around. We’re skipping past much of the plot: sought-after by a MAD MAX style biker gang, the trio plan a lucrative heist while Chappie, turning from a cowardly machine into a shrugging thief, becomes something his creator doesn’t recognize: baby's now a teenager! Which means little since Patel eventually fades out, almost entirely.

After a long two-hours, suffering though particular characters limited in depth and intelligence, the realization that CHAPPIE is more of a contained fable than a rip-roaring action flick could let some people down. Others might be relieved that there's something surprisingly original about a vehicle that's anything but. OVERALL RANK: Jedi, Rebel, Droid, Sith.
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