It’s official: I’m done with Neill Blomkamp. Chappie (2015) may be the most annoying film I’ve ever seen.
The streets of near-future Johannesburg are patrolled by droids created by technology megacorp Teravaal. The droids are the brainchild of whiz kid Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), who, in his spare time, also works on artificial intelligence programs. An unfortunate series of events leads Deon to implant his latest program into the chassis of a damaged police droid, which gives birth to Chappie (voiced by Sharlto Copley), the first sentient AI. Alas, Chappie falls into the hands of a desperate criminal gang, who raises Chappie as one of their own in order to deploy him in a last-ditch heist to save their skins. Ultraviolent chaos ensues.
This is deeply stupid science fiction. The only checkmarks in the “pro” column are reasonably competent performances from Patel, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver, and I suppose the CGI is decent. But otherwise this is a profoundly irritating movie: tonally monotonous, full of shrill acting, relentless, emotionally empty violence, and noisy, nuance-free spectacle. Blomkamp’s early promise expired in the first twenty minutes of District 9; it’s been all downhill since then. Avoid this crap movie like the plague.