Chappie: A Complicated Story of a Conscious Robot


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Kate Linehan, Reporter

Looking for a movie that combines robots, gangsters, engineers, violence and a jealous Hugh Jackman? Then “Chappie,” the new science fiction movie, is the one for you. 

“Chappie,” directed by Neil Blomkamp (Elysium), is set in the near future where robots are used by the police to combat violence in South Africa. These robots were created by Deon Wilson, played by Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, and were a huge success until Wilson attempted to take his experiments to the next level.

The plot centers around a group of wannabe gangsters who owe money to Hippo, a leader of a gang in South Africa. In order to get the money, wannabes Yolanda, Amerika and Ninja decided to acquire a robot that will do crimes for them.

These gangsters ultimately get a hold of one of Wilson’s police robots, Chappie, who is injured and gains a conscious, but unfortunately ends up in the wrong hands and his journey to discover right from wrong is a difficult one.

Vincent Moore, played by Hugh Jackman, works with Wilson and contributes to the complicated plot. Moore does not enjoy the fame and success that Wilson is receiving and is continuously plotting revenge against him and his robots and this produces a large amount of conflict within the company.

I was impressed by the beginning of the movie because it starts out like a real CNN news story with Anderson Cooper. I thought this was a very clever way to make the movie appear as a reality, as it is likely that in our future robots will be a part of our culture.

A few parts of the movie that I found entertaining were comical scenes where the gangsters Wilson, Yolanda and Amerika are teaching Chappie how to talk and develop his brain. Like a child, Chappie’s brain is a sponge and living around drug dealers and violence might not have been the best for his development of language and attitude.

The rest of the movie, however, needs as much tinkering as a broken robot, as its bizarre plot and strange combination of characters overall left me confused. The movie seemed to be a pointless combination of fighting scenes and it had two distinctly separate plots that were vaguely connected, so characters’ motives were often unclear. My question from the very start of the movie was: Why would gang members in need of money immediately think of police robots as a mode of obtaining quick money? I had many questions like this throughout the movie due the bizarre plot that never appealed to me.

The movie concludes with a surprising plot twist that I was definitely not expecting. My friend and I left the movie theater half laughing and half freaked out from the strange array of events. I was surprised that the story was more concentrated on gang violence, threats and death than the engineering and science behind the robots.

I am usually not one to watch science fiction movies and that might be why this was not my favorite movie, so if you can handle lots of swearing, awkward slow motion deaths and a complicated plot you may have a different opinion. Overall, I think it is worth going to see if you are interested in what the world would be like with robots or are just looking for a good laugh as gangsters trick a robot into thinking that throwing ninja stars at someone just makes them go to sleep.