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Chappie

Chappie

USA/Mexiko 2014 - with Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Ninja ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Chappie
Genre:Action, Sci-Fi
Direction:Neill Blomkamp
Cinema release:05.03.2015
Production country:USA/Mexiko 2014
Running time:Approx. 120 min.
Rated:From 12 years
Web page:www.chappie-film.de

In the near future, crime has reached such proportions that the police are helpless against it. To deal with this problem, police robots have been specially developed to enforce law and order with merciless ferocity. But the ex-military Vincent (Hugh Jackman) is the creations of his colleague Deon (Dev Patel) a thorn in the eye, he wants to finally bring his own prototype to the start. When Deon wants to test a new program that would give the robots their own consciousness, but this is rejected by his boss (Sigourney Weaver), Vincent sees his time has come. For Deon defies a direct order and steals a discarded robot to test his program on. Too bad he gets kidnapped by a trio of gangsters (Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Jose Pablo Cantillo) on the way home. They want to use the now very human robot they christen Chappie to help them pull off a big heist. But Deon doesn't want to give up his creation that easily. And Vincent is also waiting in the background for the right time to put his sinister plan into action.

With Chappie, director Neill Blomkamp delivers after District 9 and Elysium a vision of the future infused with clear social criticism. Stylistically, the film clearly echoes District 9. In both films, clips from news broadcasts and a slightly documentary style at the beginning suggest a realism, into which the science fiction elements are then skilfully embedded. This creates a very special style that works really well again in Chappie. The raw realism of life in St. John's coupled with great special effects makes this dirty, maladjusted cousin of Number 5 Lives and Robocop a first-rate genre representative, with which Blomkamp once again confirms his reputation as an outstanding filmmaker.

However, there are also two criticisms. The first relates to the marketing, which suggests that Hugh Jackman is the lead here. He isn't. His character, while playing a crucial role, is clearly a supporting character. The same goes for Sigourney Weaver, who is seen about as many times throughout the film as she is in the trailer. No, the actual leads are played by Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$ler aka Die Antwoord, in addition to Sharlto Copley, whose motion capture performance brings Chappy to life. Blomkamp is a big fan of the South African rave rap duo, and is also giving them a big platform here to make themselves known to an even bigger audience. Not only that the two are allowed to be called Ninja and Yo-Landi in the film, they are also allowed to advertise themselves with recorded songs of Die Antwoord. And that's the second problem of the movie. Because the two may be good and talented artists in their field. But they are not good actors. Especially Yo-Landi plays too artificial and always seems like she is waiting for her next assignment. Not only as musicians, but also in the movie they are art figures that take some getting used to and won't be accessible to all viewers. And so it can easily happen that one is rather annoyed by their look and their acting (and at least in the original by Yo-Landi's squeaky baby voice) than taken in.

Besides that and the somewhat too intrusive product placement, Chappie is really good sci-fi entertainment (even though the film is set barely 2 years in the future and thus may not really fall into the category of science fiction). Blomkamp manages perfectly to tell an exciting story spiced with a bit of humour, while casually covering topics like corruption, advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence, social ills or the age-old question of what makes a person human. Greatly staged action and the driving soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, who treads unfamiliar ground here, also contribute to Chappie becoming good entertainment cinema that is not only fun to watch, but also a wee bit thought-provoking. If you liked District 9 and can relate to their acting, this is definitely not one to miss. A quick note on the age rating: there's a lot of violence here, some of which is actually too harsh for a 12+ release. If you were planning to go to the movie with an even younger child (theoretically, even 6 year olds are allowed to see the movie if accompanied by an adult), you should better refrain from doing so. For all others, however, a clear: Worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp

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Cinema trailer for the movie "Chappie (USA/Mexiko 2014)"
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