Chappie: Chitti’s Hollywood cousin

It’s always great to see filmmakers who haven’t lost touch with their 14-year-old selves and retain that joyous sense of love for robot toy action.

Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie might not be a new story for those who have seen Shankar’s Chitti (in Enthiran), especially with the black sheep reference (also, the fact that it has no Rajinikanth automatically puts it at a disadvantage), but it’s certainly a delightful take on the robot-coping-with-human-emotions artificial intelligence narrative — one that makes up for its logical inconsistencies with visual flair, technical competence and robot action choreography.

Genre: Sci-fi
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Yolandi Visser
Storyline: A robot with artificial intelligence, created by the police and raised by punks, needs to pick a side between right and wrong

Blomkamp, after District 9, once again sets up South Africa as the backdrop for another Us versus Them conflict and makes a rather preposterous idea — of a robot capable of living only for five days; one who needs to be taught language and skills from scratch — work with sheer charm.

It’s a premise that requires considerable suspension of disbelief, but if you are willing to submit to it just like you did back when you watched Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot (remember Giant Robot on DD?), you are going to have a blast through this film that slowly and surely finds its footing.

Characters are not black or white in Blomkamp’s universe and that makes Chappie’s choices all the more fascinating. The thriller with edge-of-the-seat action choreography is a lot more Indian in its sensibility than Hollywood when it comes to handling sentiments and values, and might appeal to the Asian audience a lot more than it has in the West.

Dev Patel gets a meaty part in this ensemble. You know you have arrived when you are fighting Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, who gets a thankless part as the villain of the piece). Chappie, voiced by old Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley, is a fairly likeable bloke. Chappie is a gritty little actioner for young adults that you are bound to like purely out of nostalgia.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 4:55:40 PM |

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